The Crime Prevention Website


Both men and women have sent me emails concerning their fears about using public transport and so to help you become a little more confident I thought it would be useful to provide you with a few hints and tips. I am particularly grateful to my friend Christine Morrison of CMA Training (and former police sergeant) for supplying a lot of the following advice.

Before you travel

  • Get hold of a timetable or go online to review the same and plan your journey. If you’re taking a combination of trains and buses/coaches try to plan it so that you are not hanging around stations for long periods of time
  • Work out what it’s going to cost you and purchase your ticket online if you can before you start your journey. This will help to save time trying to buy a ticket. In London and other cities you can use your debit and credit card ‘touch to pay’ facility at the barriers or prepaid cards, which also saves time
  • Familiarise yourself with the routes and destinations (Bus and Coach Stations/Railway Stations) before you travel by using Google Street View
  • If you know that you are getting off at an unmanned and poorly lit station or isolated bus stop think about booking a cab to meet you or ask a friend to pick you up
  • Make sure you have with you a fully charged mobile phone (or a portable phone charging battery), so you can call someone if the transport you are waiting for is late or cancelled
  • If you work for an organisation that receives unwelcome attention from the public try to hide anything that might make you identifiable as an employee of that organisation
  • On the London Underground wait for the train in a well lit place near groups of people and stand back against the wall
  • If using the Underground regularly learn the platform exit points and use a carriage that stops closest to the exit
  • Avoid carrying several bags where possible – try putting one inside another. Always try to keep both hands free when travelling.  Don’t look vulnerable!
  • Keep expensive jewellery hidden. You can always put it on when you reach your destination
  • Avoid carrying all your valuables – keys, phone, credit cards etc - in a single bag. Think about spreading them around using different pockets
  • Consider using a cheap phone cover to disguise an expensive phone. Think about carrying a fake wallet/purse containing out-of-date credit and debit cards and just a little cash to hand to a mugger if threatened


  • If you are nervous when waiting at a bus or tram stop at night stand in a well-lit place near to other groups of waiting passengers
  • If you are the only person waiting at the stop and you feel very nervous you might consider walking onto the next stop, but only do so if you have plenty of time so that you don’t miss the bus or tram. You might also feel more comfortable standing back from the stop in a well-lit place (perhaps in front of a food outlet/minicab office etc). However, make sure you can still see the tram or bus approaching
  • Have your fare/touch card ready to use in your pocket so you don’t have to pull out your wallet or search through an open handbag
  • If you are nervous when waiting at a train station at night stand close to a group of passengers or by a passenger emergency alarm/help point and within view of a CCTV camera

Seat Selection

  • On a tram or bus try to sit in an aisle seat close the driver
  • Always try to sit downstairs on a double-decker bus
  • On a train try to sit in a busy carriage
  • On the Underground familiarise yourself with the position of the alarms on entering the train. If the alarm is activated the train will stop at the very next station

During the journey

  • If you are unsure which bus or tram stop to get off at ask the driver to give you an indication when you first get on
  • If you are harassed on a bus or tram make a fuss about it immediately. The driver will be able to alert their depot and the police if necessary. Most buses and trams have CCTV
  • If someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable trust your instincts and if possible change seats before a problem arises or move closer to the driver. You could also consider getting off at the next stop if it is practical and on a train you should move to a different carriage or go to the buffet car if there is one
  • On the Underground if you feel uncomfortable with your fellow passengers, move carriages at the very next station
  • If you are attacked or see an attack on the Underground, operate the emergency alarm immediately or shout for someone else to operate the alarm so you can receive help more quickly when you reach the next station
  • Be very careful when using devices such as mobile phones and laptops
  • Beware of pickpockets who often operate on buses and London Underground. Try to keep valuables in pockets on the inside of a jacket, preferably with a zip. If this is not possible, try to use tight pockets so that it will take more force to remove something and you will be more likely to feel it if someone tries. If you do put valuables in your bag, keep it shut and in front of you where you can see it at all times

On arrival

  • When getting off trains, try to attach yourself to people leaving the station.  Deserted stations provide opportunities for criminals.  If the station is deserted walk briskly and purposefully with your head up
  • If you have seen an incident during the journey, seek staff assistance or look to see if there is a Help Point or call for help
  • Be careful when using your mobile phone on exiting a train or coach station as thieves often operate in these places

Updated September 2015