Fall has arrived. It is getting dark earlier every day. Safety after dark is an important consideration, as the risk of certain types of incidents may increase during nighttime hours. Whether you are in an urban or rural area, taking steps to ensure your safety after dark is crucial. Here are some tips to help keep you safe.

  • Stay Aware: Pay attention to your surroundings and be mindful of what’s happening around you. Avoid distractions like texting or wearing headphones while walking in poorly lit areas. Walk briskly and with purpose. You are less likely to be targeted if you are not distracted.
  • Use Well-Lit Paths: Stick to well-lit streets and pathways when walking or jogging at night. Avoid shortcuts through dark or deserted areas. Criminals prefer not to be seen.
  • Travel in Groups: Whenever possible, travel with friends or in groups, as there is safety in numbers. Avoid walking alone late at night in unfamiliar or high-crime areas. You are less likely to be targeted in a group.
  • Plan Your Route: Before heading out, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. Share your location with a trusted friend or family member and consider using apps that allow real-time location sharing. That way in the event something does happen your steps can more easily be traced.
  • Carry Personal Safety Items: Items like a flashlight, personal alarm, or self-defense tool (like pepper spray) can provide added security. Make sure you’re familiar with how to use these items safely and effectively. Here is a list of personal safety devices and how they are used.
  • Stay Visible: Wear reflective clothing or accessories, especially if you are walking or jogging near traffic. This will help drivers see you more easily.
  • Trust Your Instincts: If something doesn’t feel right or if you feel unsafe, trust your gut and take action to protect yourself. Cross the street, go into a well-lit store, or call for help if necessary.
  • Avoid Dark Areas: Avoid walking through and parking in areas that are poorly lit or deserted, especially if you are alone. Stick to busier, well-populated areas. These areas are less likely to be targeted.
  • Use Public Transportation: If available, consider using public transportation or ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft instead of walking alone at night. Make sure to use the app’s vehicle identifier to ensure you are in the right car.
  • Know Emergency Contacts: Have emergency numbers programmed into your phone, such as local police, a trusted friend or family member, and a taxi service. In case of an emergency, you can quickly reach out for help.
  • Stay Sober: Avoid excessive alcohol or substance use when you are out at night. Impaired judgement can make you vulnerable to dangerous situations.
  • Lock Doors and Windows: At home, or in your car, make sure all doors and windows are securely locked. Consider installing motion-activated lights outside your residence. A well-lit home is less likely to be targeted.
  • Security Systems: If possible, install a home security system or use security cameras to monitor your property. You can also invest in the Ring Doorbell for added protection.
  • Community Watch Programs: Join or participate in local community watch programs if available. These programs can help deter criminal activity in your area. Learn more about how to start a community watch program.

The holiday shopping season is upon us. Thieves, con artists, burglars, muggers, pickpockets and other people with bad intentions are out and about looking for their next victims. You have to be more conscious of your surroundings and be mindful of your belongings. If you’re going shopping, make sure to follow these safety tips.

  • Try to carry as little as possible: Try to leave your purse at home. Bring only the items you really need and keep them in your pocket. If you do bring a purse, hold it securely against your body. You can also wear it under a jacket or coat to keep it unexposed. Do not leave your purse in your shopping cart or on a counter, not even for a moment. Do not hang your purse on a stroller. Also, do not leave your belongings unattended on a table or chair beside you in a restaurant. Don’t leave any purchases or your purse unattended while shopping or in a dressing room. Check Out this Shopping Safe Video Clip.
  • Pay with checks or with credit cards when possible: Do not flash large amounts of cash. Try to bring only one credit card. Make sure you have the customer service number written down on a piece of paper or stored in your phone in the event that your purse is stolen. Keep your phone in your pocket and not in your purse while shopping.  Consider making photocopies of all the important things in your purse or wallet and leave the copies in a secure place at home so if your belongings get stolen, you’ll have records of all the important things.
  • Never leave children unattended: If your child gets separated from you, teach them to find a cashier or security guard to help. If possible have them memorize your address and phone number. Teach them not to go with a stranger.
  • Try not to shop alone: Shopping with someone else is safer and more fun. You are less likely to be a target if you are with someone else. Also, you can take turns using the dressing room and watching each other’s belongings.
  • Locate your keys before leaving the store: Looking for your keys distracts you and makes you an easy target for someone trying to commit a crime with minimal resistance. Being aware of your surroundings is one of the most important factors you need to consider while shopping. Take a good look at the faces and hands of people who might try to approach you. Most snatchers like to strike quickly without being recognized. Do not appear to be distracted or vulnerable. In the event an incident does occur, being vigilant will also help you better describe the assailant. Walk briskly and confidently. Try to shop during the day or stay in well-lit areas when possible. Muggers and thieves are more likely to strike in dark, secluded areas.
  • Put your purchases in the trunk: Leaving your purchases visible in your vehicle can increase your risk of theft. To be safe, put as much as you can in the trunk. If some of your purchases have to go on your seats, consider covering them with a blanket. That way your car is less likely to become a target of criminals. Lock your car the moment you get inside before starting the car.

Remember that safety precautions may vary depending on your location, so it’s essential to be aware of the specific safety concerns in your area, and for your task, and adapt your actions accordingly.  Staying informed and being prepared can significantly reduce the risk of encountering dangerous situations after dark. For businesses looking to make their establishment safer this fall, schedule a free, no obligation consultation. Let the security experts at National Protective Service, Inc find a security solution tailored to meet your individual needs. National Protective Services, Protecting You Like Family.