Feeling safe in your community is just as important as feeling safe inside your home.
There’s little point in making your property secure if you are never prepared to step outside for fear of being robbed or knocked over by a speeding car.
While no-one would deny that crime exists and accidents happen, there are ways to increase your personal safety and your confidence. It’s important that you feel safe where you live because you might otherwise be inclined to hide away at home and cut yourself off from other people.
As long as you’re sensible and take a few precautionary measures, there’s no reason you shouldn’t remain perfectly safe when you’re out and about.
Don’t make yourself an obvious target for thieves. Stay in well-lit, busy areas and keep your belongings out of sight. Withdraw money from ATMs inside shops if possible and always book taxis from licensed firms.
If you live in a detached property or use the rear entrance regularly, a few carefully located security lights will not only improve your own safety – but will make it safer for your visitors to reach your property.
Get to know your neighbours
If you live in a village or a town, get to know your neighbours. Most people are friendly enough if you strike up a conversation. And when you’re on friendly terms, you’ll almost certainly be looking out for one another.
Anti-social behaviour and nuisance neighbours
Neighbour disputes can be difficult to resolve, especially when both parties believe they are in the right. Loud music, barking dogs and car parking issues can cause friction between people living in close proximity but do not necessarily constitute anti-social behaviour. Try to resolve the issue in an informal manner before involving your landlord and/or the police.
Cold calling is bad enough on the telephone but it can be frightening when someone is standing on your doorstep giving you the hard sell. Cold Calling Control Zones act as deterrents in areas where doorstep crime or distraction burglary has been a problem. For more information speak to your local council’s trading standards officers.
Neighbourhood Watch creates strong communities where people can enjoy a good quality of life safe from crime. Its mission is that no-one should feel afraid, vulnerable or isolated in their community.
To find out if there is a Neighbourhood Watch scheme in your area, visit Our Watch.
Online Watch Link (OWL)
OWL takes Neighbourhood Watch one step further by sharing crime alerts and updates by email.
The scheme currently operates in Gwent, North Wales and Carmarthenshire. Here is a short film about OWL. To join up click here.
Partnerships and Communities Together (PACT) meetings are held regularly across police authority areas and members of the public are encouraged to attend and highlight what local issues have a negative impact on their quality of life, e.g. unsociable behaviour outside local shops, or speeding traffic.
Find out when your nearest PACT meeting (sometimes called a 'surgery') is taking place at:
South Wales Police
Dyfed Powys Police
North Wales Police
Information and advice
Find out more about the area you live or information about crime prevention by visiting www.police.uk.
You can also find out what crimes were reported in your post code area and, if there is an investigation, how it is progressing.
Neighbour Watch has plenty of tips for personal safety, home safety and community safety on its website.
Age Cymru produces a leaflet on anti-social behaviour and how to deal with it.
The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities publishes an easy-read guide Staying Safe Out and About.