New York State Police

Crime Prevention:
Step Away for Safety

Step Away for Safety!

Above all else, use your brains. Think . . .

All children are special and deserve to be treated well by others. Everyone is equally valuable and precious. Each of us deserves to be treated - and should treat each other - with respect and dignity.

Be proud of yourself and walk with pride and confidence.


  • You don't need to be scared, you just need to be cautious and prepared.
  • You can do things to keep yourself safe.
  • If you stay alert and aware, you can help keep your family, friends and neighbors safe.
Stranger: Anyone you don't trust or know very well.

A stranger can be someone you see every day, but don't really know. This person can be a man or a woman, young or old, shabby or well-dressed, pretty or plain.

Danger: A place, person or action that might hurt you.

Danger isn't just a dark, scary and strange place. It can be just a place, person or action that is unfamiliar to you. If an abductor is around, danger can be just being alone, sad or curious.

Vulnerable: Being an easy target.

You are most vulnerable when you are alone, regardless of the time of day. Children are lured away from streets, parks and neighborhoods, when they are alone, needing help or sympathy.

Don't go out to play alone. If you need help, ask a friend to help. If you are sad, talk to a trusted adult or friend - not a stranger!

Instinct: The funny feeling you get about a person or a place. The "willies!"

Your instincts can warn you about a potentially hazardous person, place or action. Pay attention to these feelings.

Safety Zone: The area around you that allows you enough room to escape.

Establish a "safety zone" by stepping away for safety, and keep stepping away. If the person keeps trying to get closer, run away and tell someone.

Lure: A trick an abductor uses to get you out of a safe zone into an unsafe one.

Some lures used are: giving you a chance to make money, buying you presents or paying a lot of attention to you.

Assistance Lure: When someone asks you for help.

You should be suspicious if an adult asks you for help. Most adults will not and should not ask a child for help. Adults should help adults.

If a stranger, either in a car or on the street, asks you to help them or give them directions, step away for safety and tell them to ask an adult. Then run away! Never get into a stranger's car for any reason!

If a stranger asks you to help them find a lost pet or child, step away for safety, tell them no, and then run away and tell a trusted adult.

Physical Lure: When somebody grabs you and drags you to an unsafe place.

If you are ever grabbed - don't wait - shout as loud as you can: "You're not my mom/dad! Let go of me!" or "Leave me alone! I don't know you!" Then, do anything you can to get away - kick, bite, hit - then run.

When a stranger scares you or makes you feel uncomfortable, tell someone you trust right away.

Emergency Lure: When somebody tells you someone you love is hurt and the person will take you to them.

This person may tell you that your mother is hurt, your father can't pick you up, or that you have to go with him or her for some other reason. The best way to check this out is to come up with a code word that only you and your parents or another special adult know. You must never tell anyone the code word - not even your best friend.

Code Word: A secret password only you and a special adult know.

Never go anywhere with someone who doesn't know the code word right away, and don't stay to explain. Get away immediately. Just run and scream.

A stranger will try to call you by name to appear more friendly, less stranger-like. Sometimes they know your name because it is on your clothing or book bag. To keep safe, don't put names on your belongings.

Authority Lure: When someone tells you they are the police or in charge and you have to go with them.

It is okay for you to say "No!" to an authority figure when that figure wants you to do something you know is wrong or gives you the "willies." Say "No!" then step away, get away and tell a trusted adult.

Remember, the police are there to help you, and they will prove to you that they are really the police in front of a trusted adult.

But, not all people with badges or in uniform are really authority figures. People can get real-looking badges easily. So don't go off with anybody just because they have a badge. Always talk to a trusted adult first.

Weapons are a sign of power and are used to force you to do something you don't want to do. Don't do it. Run and scream!