Safety On the Streets

Young women's version of this guide


As a teenager, you probably get to spend more time alone with friends, sometimes in unfamiliar situations and new neighborhoods. It is important to make the right decisions about staying safe. This guide was written to give you some tips on how to stay safe when you’re out on your own.

How can I stay safe if I’m walking in an unfamiliar neighborhood?

  • Walk with another person whenever possible.
  • If you’re walking alone, try to choose a main street where there might be other people.
  • Stay in areas that are well-lit.
  • Stay alert. Look up and down the street on both sides, and even behind you. Keep your headphones off so that you can hear what’s happening around you.
  • Walk quickly and confidently to your destination.
  • If you’re lost, go into a store, fire station, or a police station to ask for directions.
  • Keep your cell phone and your valuables hidden.
  • Put your wallet in a front pocket, where you can keep better track of it.

What should I do if someone attempts to harm me while I’m walking alone?

  • Don’t fight with someone who tries to take your belongings — if someone grabs your backpack or demands your wallet, give it to them. Even if you think you’re bigger or stronger than they are, the other person might have a weapon. Money and other things can be replaced — your safety is the most important thing.
  • Run in the opposite direction and go to the nearest business, fire station, or police station for help.
  • Don’t forget to yell for help—it’s a sure way to get attention.

General Safety Tips:

  • Even though you’re not a little kid anymore, it’s important to be careful about talking to people you don’t know.
  • Be aware of anyone in a car who stops to talk to you or asks you for directions, even if you’re in a familiar neighborhood.
  • Don’t get in a car with someone you don’t know.
  • Don’t talk to anyone who makes you uncomfortable.
  • Make a plan with your parent(s), guardian(s), or other trusted adult ahead of time, so you’ll know what to do if there’s an emergency.
  • Be prepared. Consider checking out local self-defense classes. Your local police department or school might offer classes that can teach you how to protect yourself and how to handle uncomfortable situations.
  • Most cell phones also have an emergency button option. Make sure you know where it is and how to use it.