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With earlier sunsets and shorter days, we find ourselves navigating in darkness during our morning routines, commutes to and from work, and evening outings. For many, darkness leads to increased concern about personal safety. Precautions are understandable in light of the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) findings that approximately two-thirds (63.2 percent) of sexual assaults happen at night.
But there are a few things we can all do during the dark hours to feel more prepared, better planned, and ultimately safer any time of day.
By listening to your instincts and being prepared for added vulnerability in the dark, you can reduce chances of danger in several ways. The obvious is to arrange your schedule to do most activities while it’s still early and lighter out. That’s often not possible, so here are a few other practices you can implement:
Try to stay in well-lit areas, avoiding dead-ends or isolated locations.
Be aware of your surroundings so that you can better anticipate and avoid potential confrontations.
When walking at night, safety can be greatly enhanced by having a companion.
If going out alone, try to tell someone your plan before you leave, including where you’ll be and when you expect to be back.
Make sure you have a cell phone handy in case you need to call for help. Or download SABRE's Personal Safety App to alert trusted contacts of your location, should you feel unsafe.
With additional hours of darkness, pedestrian accidents can increase during this time of year. If you plan to continue your walking, running, or biking routine, it’s important to invest in reflective clothing and other accessories, like an LED Armband or Personal Alarm that has an LED light.
If you’re alone and foresee an impending confrontation or assault, a loud alarm can help to startle the aggressor and potentially cause them to flee. It can also alert others within hearing range that you need help. Alarms for this purpose are manufactured as wearable personal safety products, and they can range from a simple whistle to a battery-powered, high-decibel siren.
SABRE offers several personal alarm choices, including ones with clips, on key chains, handheld styles and even a model that attaches to a cane or mobility vehicle. The Personal Alarm with Clip & LED Light and Personal Alarm with Keychain & LED Light provide alarms audible to 600 feet and 500 feet respectively, along with a handy light source.
For increased protection, personal safety products such as pepper spray or a stun gun can be toted with you when you’re out at night. Both types of self-defense devices inflict temporary pain on an assailant, followed by a period of disorientation to help give the user time to run to safety. Before obtaining either pepper spray or a stun gun, however, make certain that they are legal for use in your state (pepper spray is legal in all 50 states, but legality can vary by formula and strength). It’s also smart to try to go through some training beforehand so you know the proper and most effective way to use whatever safety gear you choose.
Along with security tips and personal safety devices, one of the best ways to feel more confident when facing threatening situations — including darkness — is to take a safety training class. In our continual effort to help individuals actively take responsibility for their security and use personal safety devices correctly and successfully, SABRE offers two classes: the Civilian Safety Awareness Program and the SABRE College Safety Program. These courses can provide instruction on how to avoid potentially dangerous situations altogether, how to better protect yourself if you are confronted and proper technique for use of pepper spray/gel and stun guns.
Being actively involved in your own personal safety will allow you to better overcome any negative effects of Daylight Savings Time. In turn, this can free you up to enjoy the longer, cozy evenings and fun holiday festivities that also go hand-in-hand with this time of year.
Make It SafeTM this season with SABRE.