Posted by on March 15, 2019

In a densely populated city like Toronto, many people use elevators to access floors in high rise buildings such as apartment buildings, condos, and offices. Sometimes, these elevator trips are during busy times when we are crammed with others. Other times – early mornings, late nights at the office – we are by ourselves or with one or two other people
Here is a small sample of elevator assaults in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)


• On August 26, 2013, a man cut off an elderly woman’s nose in an elevator near the Yonge Dundas intersection.
• On April 29, 2015, a man sexually assaulted a woman riding the elevator in a building in the Bellamy Road and Eglinton Avenue area around 6:45 p.m.
• On Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, a woman and suspect were both in the elevator of an apartment building in the Don Mills Road and Sheppard Avenue area at roughly 6 p.m. He sexually assaulted the woman as she left the elevator then fled the scene.

Elevators offer assailants two main advantages. One is confined space that limits your options to avoid and escape. A small space also limits your capacity to assess and react. The other advantage is isolation. Other people cannot come to your immediate aid.

Here are 6 general tips around elevator safety.

  1. Look before entering an elevator. Do not enter if there is someone on the elevator who makes you nervous. Follow your gut!
  2. Be aware of who gets on the elevator. Again, if you feel nervous or uneasy, get off the elevator.
  3. If you can stand near the control panel with your back against the side wall (to see everyone).
  4. Try not to be distracted. If you are on your phone you are hindering your situational awareness.
  5. Observe where people are placing their hands. Are they visible, in their pockets, behind their back?
  6. Keep your hands free. Sometimes it is difficult to not be loaded down by groceries, briefcases etc.. but do your best.

Lastly, if you are taking self-defense classes ask your self-defense instructor to train to defend in closed/confined spaces. We would prefer to avoid such scenarios but even the best trained can be surprised. Better to be prepared.

Image by Robert Allmann from Pixabay

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