Getting anywhere at night can be dangerous and scary – especially at the moment. There are safe places to study at university, but no matter what city you live in, it’s important to know how to stay safe at night. But there are measures you can take to make sure you’re as safe as you can be. Watch the video below from Bournemouth Uni student to find first-hand tips on how to stay safe at night.
For more tips on how to stay safe at night, keep these 11 tricks in mind.
1. Hold your keys in your hand
This is a common trick, usually, people suggest holding your keys between your knuckles so that if you are approached you can use them, as a Wolverine-esque addition to your fist. However, it may be worth considering holding your keys in your fist instead, as it’s less likely to damage you if you do have to hit anything.
2. There’s safety in numbers
We know we sound like your mum, but don’t go alone. Whenever possible, if you have to go out at night, take someone with you. You’re a lot less likely to be targeted for anything, as there’s more of you. The buddy system is set up in school for a reason! So if you are out at the bar and want to go home, ask to be walked back. Or wait until the others are ready too, and make sure not to wander off.
3. Tell people
If you’re going anywhere, let someone know when you’ve left your house and where you’re going. People will know roughly how long that should take and can check in if they need to. You can share your live location on apps like WhatsApp too, if you’re somewhere you’re not familiar with or with someone new – like on a date, for example.
4. Invest in a whistle or personal alarm
If someone is looking to mug or assault you, they’re likely to be put off by a loud noise drawing attention to you both. If you’re in a city centre, or somewhere with lots of houses, blowing a whistle repeatedly or setting off a personal alarm will get attention. You can buy personal alarms online for quite cheap, like this one for just over £10 on Amazon.
5. Don’t wear headphones
If you’re wearing headphones, you’re a lot less likely to be paying attention to your surroundings. This will mean you are more likely to get lost, and are less likely to notice somebody approaching you.
While it may be tempting to listen to some music on your way home, it can easily muffle out your surroundings, making it difficult to notice hazards such as cars, or people who may have not-so-nice intentions.
6. Plan your way home
If you’re going drinking, to a gig, or a party, or whatever it may be – make sure you know how you intend on getting home afterwards. If you are stuck and lost aimlessly late at night, you appear vulnerable and someone may take advantage.
If you do decide to walk home, plan your route before you head out for the night and stick to well-lit, populated areas where possible. However, it’s important to not establish a predictable routine if you do walk home often after a night out – switch up your route occasionally to make it more difficult for anyone with ill intentions to predict your movements.
7. Guard your drink
If you’re going out in the evening, even if it’s at a party, just make sure you know which drink is yours, and don’t leave it lying around. For one, you never know what other people are drinking, and everyone’s tolerances are different. Secondly, some people spike drinks.
8. Fake confidence
Even if you are uncomfortable walking in the dark, appearing confident and self-assured can make you appear less vulnerable. It is an easy way to put any criminals off messing with you.
Although we totally get that your outfit choice is important (obviously), try to keep something bright or reflective on you when you can. Maybe add a reflective keyring to your bag, carry a small torch or use your smartphone torch.
9. Go against the flow
If you’re walking on the pavement next to a road or cycle lane, go against the flow of traffic. This stops people sneaking up behind you on bikes or anything and pickpocketing.
10. Keep your hands free
Don’t fill your hands with a clutch, a purse, your phone (unless using your torch), etc. Other than your keys, keep your hands free to push someone away if necessary.
11. Be wary of strangers
It might seem obvious, but it’s important to avoid engaging in conversations with strangers, unless you really need to. If someone approaches you, or you feel as though they’re following you, cross the road, change direction or head to somewhere busier for safety.
We hope these tips on how to stay safe at night are helpful. Remember, if you are harassed, mugged, or assaulted in the street, you can report it afterwards by contacting your local police. Or if it was on campus you can talk to your guidance tutors. If you need assistance with rape or sexual assault visit the NHS site for more information and resources.