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Personal Safety at Work

When you go to work, don’t leave your crime prevention sense at home. Almost any crime that happens at home or in your neighborhood can happen in the workplace. But common-sense prevention skills can help make life at work safe for all. Know your co-workers and look out for each other.



  • Keep your purse, wallet, or other valuable items with you at all times or locked in a drawer or closet. Do not leave personal belongings such as purses, keys, etc. in public view. These items should be locked away. Don’t keep a wallet in a jacket that is left on a chair or coat rack.

  • Never leave your keys lying about.

  • Never leave change or cash on the desk or in a top drawer. Instead, place any cash in an envelope and put it in a drawer you can lock.

  • Check the identity of any strangers who are in your office – ask who they are visiting and if you can help them find that person. If this makes you uncomfortable, inform security or management about your suspicions.

  • Any employee in the wrong place at the wrong time is wrong. This suspicious behavior should be reported to a supervisor.

  • If you bring any personal items to work such as a coffee pot, radio, or calculator, make sure they are engraved with your name or initials and an identification number (do not use your social security number as ID).

  • Have a code word or phrase that you can use to raise co-workers awareness when you see a suspicious person. Choose something that will not alert the person in question. Only use this “code” for this purpose. Have a response plan in place if you hear those words. Be prepared to notify police if the code is used.

  • Lock unused doors to employee lounges, restrooms, and storage areas. If a customer must use the restroom, they should ask for a key.

  • Check the identification of any strangers who ask for confidential information or any delivery or repair persons who want to enter an area restricted to employees. Always call the parent company or receptionist for verification.

  • If you notice suspicious persons or vehicles, notify security personnel, your supervisor, and the police. Be especially alert in large office buildings and after normal working hours.

  • When you are working in an office or store after normal working hours, be sure you have closed and locked exterior doors and windows. If you have a perimeter alarm system, leave it on for extra protection.
  • Report any broken or flickering lights, dimly lit corridors, doors that don’t lock properly, broken windows, or broken pay phones to maintenance and security for immediate repair.
  • Be discreet. Don’t advertise your social life or vacation plans and those of your co-workers to strangers visiting your place of work. Avoid letting telephone callers know that your boss or fellow workers are out of town.
  • Post the emergency numbers for security, the police, and the fire department at every phone. It’s also a good idea to write the address of the building on or near the phone, including building or suite numbers. People often forget addresses when reporting an emergency at work. Post a list of employers who are trained in CPR or emergency first aid along with their extension numbers.
  • If you are responsible for office keys, don’t leave them on your desk or in the top drawer where they could be easily taken and copied. Keep them with you or hide them in a secure place. Only give out keys to persons who have a legitimate need and make sure they are returned.
  • Never write down safe or vault combinations or computer passwords.
  • Know your co-workers and look out for each other. Ask a friend to watch your desk while you’re in another room or out for lunch and volunteer to do the same. Find someone who leaves at the same time and walk together.
  • If you feel especially uneasy about exiting the building, call for Security or the police to stand by while you lock up and go to your car.
  • Always let someone know where you’ll be, whether it’s coming in late, working late, going to the computer room, going out to lunch or to a meeting. If you have an accident, they will have an idea about where you are and eventually come looking for you.
  • Know the locations of the fire exits in your building.
  • Make sure all the equipment in your office-laptops, calculators, flat screen monitors, etc. has been engraved with a company identification number.
  • Make sure secure files are secure at all times. This includes Human Resources employee files containing personal information.
  • Shred all important papers before discarding them in the wastebasket.
  • Reception Area – Is the receptionist equipped with a panic button for emergencies? Is the receptionist and relief staff trained in the use of the panic button?


  • Park in well lit heavily traveled areas if possible. If you know you are going to be staying late, check for lights when you park in the morning. If there are no spaces near lights, move your car to a better location at noon or when other employees begin to leave for the day.
  • If you are working late, ask the security guard or a co-worker to escort you to the parking lot.
  • Always lock your car and roll the windows up all the way.
  • If you notice strangers lurking in the parking lot, notify security or the police immediately.
  • Don’t leave valuable items in plain view inside your car. Leave them at home or lock them in the trunk prior to entering the parking lot.
  • When you approach your car after work, have your key ready and check the floor and back seats before you get in.


  • If you are working late or reporting in early, try to meet another employee to ride together and enter or leave together. If you’re in a one-person office or store, check with neighboring businesses to see if any of their employees have similar schedules.
  • Make certain you have the most up-to-date schedules if you take public transportation.
  • Don’t get in elevators with people who look out of place or behave in a strange or threatening way. Report such individuals to security or the police. Stand near the control panel in case your need to exit quickly or call for help.
  • Stairwells can be traps as well as a way to save time or get some exercise. Never enter a stairwell to escape pursuers or potential attackers. Go to an office where there are other people.
  • Be extra cautious when using restrooms that are in isolated locations, poorly lit or open to the public.
  • If you bank for your business, vary your route and time of departure. Conceal your bank bag or use a nondescript bag, such as a fast food bag.
  • Upon arrival at the bank, wait in your car a few minutes to observe suspicious activity, person, or vehicles. You can always return to the bank at a safer time.


  • Stay calm, try not to panic or show any signs of anger or fear.
  • If you are confronted by an armed robber, cooperate. Don’t risk physical harm. Do exactly what the perpetrator asks, but no more.
  • Be a good witness without putting yourself in danger.
  • Call security and the police as soon as possible. A good description will be vital to the police, so try to remember everything you can about the thief, robber, or assailant. Important things to look for are height and weight, race, sex, age, color of hair and haircut, complexion, facial hair (beard, mustache, sideburns) color of eyes and eyeglasses, scars or other unusual marks, speech including accent or lisp, clothing, jewelry, weapon, vehicle color and make, license number, and direction of travel.
  • Contact your local victim services agency or mental health center to help you cope with the trauma that any victimization causes. Contact the City of Irvine’s FOR Families Service at (949) 724-6650.


  • Role-play with co-workers responses to armed robbery, attempted rape, and theft of a purse. Discuss what you should and should not do.
  • Help co-workers who are victims of crime. Listen sympathetically without judging their behavior. Offer to help with things like getting to court and contacting a victim services program. You might be able to handle part of their workload if they have to testify.

This information is provided by the Irvine Police Department And The National Crime Prevention Council