Safety in public

A mistaken belief exists in the community that older people are vulnerable to crime. Statistics show the older you are the less likely you are to become a victim of crime.

Despite this low risk, it is still important that you recognise risky situations and take precautions to protect yourself and your property.

Tips for staying safe

These practical strategies can help you respond effectively if your safety is threatened:

  • If a stranger approaches you, use your feelings of safety as a guide. If you feel unsafe, remove yourself from the situation. It is better to be rude than unsafe.
  • Carry a mobile phone so you can call for help. Program in the phone numbers of a relative, neighbour, close friend and the Triple Zero (000) emergency number.
  • Avoid areas where you don’t feel safe (e.g. short-cuts through parks or vacant land, or areas in darkness).
  • Where possible use busy, well-lit streets.
  • If you think you are being followed or in danger of being confronted, cross the street or try to get the attention of people nearby—shout as loudly as you can or seek help at the nearest house, shop or busy public place.

Protect your money and valuables

  • Keep cash and valuables you carry to a minimum.
  • Use a bag that can be secured (e.g. with a zip).
  • Hold your wallet or handbag close to you.
  • Avoid leaving your bag in a shopping trolley, on the back of a chair or under a table in public places, or on the hook of a door in a public toilet.
  • Use ATMs located in public view and be discreet when entering your personal identification number (PIN).
  • Count and secure your money discreetly.

On public transport

  • Plan your travel in advance—avoid unnecessary waiting.
  • Advise someone of your expected arrival and route.
  • Wait where you feel most comfortable and safe, such as in a well-lit area near other people.
  • Sit where you can be seen by the driver or guard.
  • If you feel your safety is threatened by a fellow passenger
    • respond assertively (e.g. ‘Leave me alone, or I will report you.’)
    • move to a different location
    • seek help from other passengers by asking specific people for assistance rather than making a general call for help
    • activate an emergency button or help phone, if available
    • report the incident to the bus driver, train guard, police or to the transport company.
  • Notice who gets off with you when leaving public transport.
  • Plan your route home or to your car when you get off public transport.

Safety workshops

Learn practical strategies to stay safe at a free Personal Safety Awareness Workshop. To find out more, contact your local police station and ask for the District Crime Prevention Coordinator.

Report a crime

Call Triple Zero (000) if your life is in danger, there is a serious risk to your safety or property, or a crime is happening now.

To report non-urgent incidents of stealing, wilful damage, break and enter, stolen vehicles or lost property contact Policelink on 131 444.

Helpful resources

Safety handbook:

Safety factsheet:

Seniors safety service directory: