In offering this information it is not our intention to make you worry, but we do want to give you some helpful advice to protect yourself and your possessions.
Although Ballarat is a relatively safe city is important to be prepared. Taking precautions will reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
The main idea is to use common sense - take extra care at night, don't walk around alone in dark or isolated places. Keep your house and vehicle secure and be alert and aware of what or who is around you.
On the street
- Maintain a confident appearance. Stay alert and walk with your eyes raised.
- Be aware of your surroundings, both human and environmental. Take note of street names and who is around. Most attacks occur early in the morning or late at night when there are not many people around.
- At night, if possible, keep to major well-lit streets and avoid dark areas or short cuts. It is not safe to walk alone at night, especially on weekends when people who may have been drinking are also walking around.
- If you think you are being followed, walk close to the road, or cross to the other side. If you are sure you are being followed, use your mobile phone and contact the police. Or if you have no phone, go to the nearest house and ask the occupants to call for help for you.
- Check timetables in advance - avoid long waits at platforms, particularly in the evening
- Stay in well-lit areas or wait near local shops
- Stand where you can be seen
- Where possible sit with others or travel with a friend - face other travellers
- If you are being harassed or assaulted, complain loudly to draw attention to yourself
- Remain alert, take note of suspicious people
In your vehicle
- Plan your trip: always carry a road map
- Inform someone of your trip destination, estimated arrival time and proposed route
- Do not pick up hitchhikers
- If you think you are being followed, confirm your suspicions by making turns and staying on busy and brightly lit streets at night. If you are still being followed, do not drive home, which will reveal where you live. Drive to a police station or a place where you can call the police
- If a driver ahead of you deliberately forces you to stop by braking or blocking the road, do not turn off the engine as you may stall when trying to restart
- If the driver gets out of the car and comes towards you, remain in your car with the doors locked and windows shut. Sound your horn and flash your lights
Parking your vehicle
- Consider the area you are parking in if you will be returning when its dark. Does the area have adequate lighting? Is it isolated?
- Do not park in an isolated or dark position
- Avoid parking too close to walls, high fences or vegetation, which might provide cover for an attacker
- Remove purses, packages or other easily stolen items from easy view within the car
- When returning to your car, have the keys in your hand for quick access
- Before you open your car door, visually conduct a proper check to make sure no one is hiding inside, particularly behind the front seat
Keeping your house safe and secure
- Always lock up. Doors and windows should be locked, not only when you are out of the house, but when you are elsewhere (eg backyard)
- Secure all windows
- Light up at night - keep doors, windows and pathways well lit
- Side gates should be securely locked
- Padlock garden sheds and garages
- Plan ahead for times when you will be away from your home on holidays etc
- Never leave your house obviously unoccupied, even briefly
- Arrange for a friend to clear your letter box
- Try to leave a car parked in your driveway
- Install a timer device that turns radios and lights on and off at night