Adelaide is a relatively safe City by international standards. It is still important to be aware of the potential risks to your personal safety and take precautions. Your personal safety, the safety of your children and the protection of your environment are vital areas of crime prevention.
Some people are frightened to leave their homes, particularly after dark. If you are worried but nevertheless need to go out alone at night, be aware of the possibility that something might happen. Keep alert at all times. Do not give the criminal an opportunity. Follow these guidelines:
● Walk confidently — step out — don't dawdle. Always stay alert.
● Never use short cuts such as unlit alleys or routes across waste ground, or paths through woods or Park Lands.
● Carry a torch and personal attack alarm.
● Walk on the footway closest to oncoming traffic.
● Keep to lighted streets.
● Never accept lifts.
● Don't put your bag down in pubs or supermarkets; keep it with you. In a nightclub, ask a friend to look after it while you dance.
● Don't leave your purse in easy view or reach.
● Make certain your chequebook and credit cards are not together. Keep them separate. Spread them around your pockets.
● If possible, be escorted home at night. Arrange for a friend or relative to meet you at bus or train stations.
● When approaching your front door or car door, have the key ready in your hand. Don't stand fumbling around for it.
When travelling on public transport:
● Avoid empty compartments.
● Sit near the driver/conductor or other passengers.
● If pestered, don't be afraid to ask for help from other passengers.
The usual method of bag snatching is to pull sharply with the intention of breaking the straps, pushing the victim at the same time. Thieves look for easy targets, so try to remember the following:
● Walk as far away from the kerb as possible, with the bag on the side away from the kerb;
● Use a bag with a shoulder strap that hangs down from the shoulder between your arm and body. The strap should not cross your body.
● If you are carrying shopping bags as well as a handbag, be extra careful — you are more vulnerable and bag snatchers know this. Invest in a backpack to carry your shopping.
● When carrying your bag over the shoulder, ensure it opens towards you so you be aware if anyone tries try to reach in to it.
● Handbags with short straps should be carried in your hand with your arm through the strap.
● When seated in public places, put the bag between your feet with your foot on the strap so that you can feel if your bag is being moved. Alternatively, wrap the strap around a chair leg.
● Don't carry more money and valuables than absolutely necessary.
● Don't open your purse or bag in such a way that other people can see how much money you are carrying;
● Beware of people brushing against you in crowds, or using an accomplice to distract you.
● When shopping don't leave your bag on top of trolleys, especially with the purse exposed.
● At a checkout or counter, hold your bag or purse tightly. Don't put it down while you unload the trolley.
● If you lose your bag or purse, contact your bank immediately to cancel your credit cards and stop your cheques.
In the Car
● Park in well-lit streets — if possible under a street light.
● When returning to your car, look in the back before you get in to check there is nobody there.
● Always lock the car when inside it.
● If you believe you are being followed, do not go home. Drive to a police station or service station and get help.
● Never stop for hitch-hikers.
Make yourself aware of the Safety Assist Program (formerly known as Safety House) in Adelaide, which provides all children with an organised method of protection whilst in the community.
Whenever a child feels his/her security is threatened in any way, he/she should use a Safety House. (Safety Houses are recognised by a small red and yellow sign with the Safety House logo displayed on, or as near as possible to, the letterbox).
For further information on the Safety Assist Program, contact the Safer Communities Australia Inc on 8373 0818.
The essence of Neighbourhood Watch is to encourage people to think "crime prevention" in their own neighbourhood and to take positive steps to prevent themselves and their neighbours from becoming victims.
It is a way of giving the police extra ears and eyes to help prevent crime. It is ordinary people working together to help protect themselves and their neighbours by reporting anything suspicious — suspicious behaviour, vandalism, suspect vehicles, and so on.
In no sense are they "vigilantes" as the public's task is simply to observe and report on what they perceive to be crime-related activities.
Finding local support
Neighbourhood Watch is not a job and costs you nothing. It simply requires common sense, interest and awareness. Anyone can take the initiative in setting up a local Neighbourhood Watch — but before canvassing too widely for support get in touch with your local police station. Adelaide City Council supports the Neighbourhood Watch program.
For more information, contact the Community Programs Unit at South Australia Police on 8463 7024.
Domestic violence can happen to any family, in any home, at any time. It could be happening to you or someone you know.
Domestic violence occurs when a family member, partner or ex-partner, or the natural parent of a child, attempts to physically or psychologically dominate or harm the other through physical or threats of physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or economic deprivation.
You don't have to be living together for it to occur. You don't even have to be in that relationship any more.
Domestic violence can be:
● Physical — such as pushing, punching and shoving.
● Verbal — put downs, threats to hurt you.
● Financial — having to ask for money or accounting for the money you spend, being denied the money you earn.
● Sexual — forced or unwanted sexual contact.
● Social abuse — such as having to account for your whereabouts, not being allowed to visit family and friends or not being allowed to go out to work.
You could be part of the solution. Offer help or seek help. Don't be afraid to speak out. The life you save could be your own.
Support, information and advice about your needs and rights for those whose lives are affected by domestic violence can be provided by the Domestic Violence Crisis Service on 1300 782 200.
Other services include the Domestic Violence Helpline on 1800 800 098.