This is an “archived” story from 2013 by Laurie Mirkin. Still very important today!
In light of the escape of 3 women and a child who were held captive for ten years in a run-down row home in Cleveland, women start to think how lucky they are that it didn’t happen to them. There are many steps to take in being safe that are common sense moves, but if we don’t practice them, we can’t be safe. Take a moment to read these safety tips for women out alone at night and arm yourself with this knowledge.
It’s impossible to be completely safe at all times, but there are ways to avoid becoming a victim. Women are mostly targeted at night, especially when they are alone, walking home, in a dark parking lot or driving. It’s important to know these safety tips to protect yourself from potential danger. It may save your life.
Walking Alone at Night
The most important safety tip for women to protect themselves is to be aware of your surroundings. For example, don’t wear your mp3 player or talk on your cell phone, especially when walking or jogging alone at night. This distracts you from being aware, which gives anyone the perfect opportunity to easily drag you out of sight. Try to go out using the buddy system…2 people together, not one person alone.
Have both your eyes and ears open to suspicious behavior. Be prepared when walking alone at night, by having your keys in one hand and cell phone in the other; you will be ready to take action if necessary. Another important safety tip is to attach a mace or pepper spray key ring and whistle to your key ring, in case someone tries to attack you. Also, it will be easier to make an emergency call with your phone handy.
The time it takes to dig in your purse and fumble around for your keys or phone will give anyone enough time to catch up to you. Another safety tip is to try walking closely to another group of people, at least until the point of safety. This will give the impression that you’re with others, even when you’re not. Even if a perpetrator knows you aren’t with them, he isn’t going to attack you in front of them.
Be Safe in a Store or Bank Parking Lot
When walking in the parking lot of a store or especially, a bank ATM, don’t look like a victim. If you act nervous, scared and have the tendency to fidget with things, this only draws attention to you. You portray a person that is unlikely to fight back, making you a vulnerable, prime target for someone looking for a victim.
You should walk quickly, confidently, and as stated earlier, and be aware of your surroundings. Also, park close to the entrance when shopping at night. This prevents you from having to walk a long distance, especially if your hands are full with shopping bags. Most grocery stores will offer to help carry your bags. Ask for a security guard escort if you are shopping at the mall. The most important safety tip is DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP! You can prevent these crimes from happening to you if you reach out for help, like to a security officer at the mall.
Driving Alone at Night
If you’re driving home alone, don’t stall in the parking lot or garage. Get into your car as fast as possible, especially if you can’t get a security guard or trustworthy escort. Lock all the doors and windows and leave immediately. This is such a valuable safety tip for women alone at night because women tend to sit in their cars, balancing their checkbook or checking a to-do list. This gives any watchful eyes time to observe your behavior and take action when you least expect it.
Don’t let someone prey on your kindness, especially at night. Asking for help from an attractive woman who is alone (i.e. a single man whose car has stalled) is an easy way to lure them into an unsafe situation. Other women, children, or even someone pretending to be handicapped can be used as bait to gain your trust. This safety tip for women may sound harsh, but they prey on your kindness and vulnerability. Keep in mind that they are strangers and you don’t know their intentions.
If Someone is Following You
Probably one of the more important safety tips for women alone at night is if you’re driving and feel like you’re being followed, don’t go straight home. Check your rear view mirror consistently and go away from the direction of your home. Go to a public crowded, well-lit parking lot, like at a grocery store, pharmacy or restaurant. Park by a police car if you can. Chances are, they will get the hint you know they are following you, and drive off.
If you notice someone has followed you into your apartment complex, exit as soon as possible. Don’t park, go inside your apartment and turn on all the lights. Even if a perpetrator doesn’t make his move that night, the lights will signal exactly where your apartment is for them to return.
Within Your Home
While walking home can become rather perilous in a moment’s notice, the danger doesn’t disappear upon reaching the front steps of your home or apartment. In many cases, an individual with malicious intent will pursue their target with no conceivable limitations on boundaries; be it the workplace, the parking garage, or even your home.
As soon as you close your door behind you, immediately lock it along with any other entrances (windows, doors, etc.). If you know for sure that you were being pursued, call the police and inform them of the incident. Further precautions can be taken by installing some sort of wireless home security on the premises. Most modern systems are more than enough to deter even the most persistent of threats.
Being cautious and aware are important to prevent from getting attacked or victimized in some way. Knowing and using the above safety tips for women are important, especially when you are out alone at night. Above all, use your common sense and intuition.