We’ve seen the end of Daylight Savings Time 2019, and with this comes earlier sunsets and shorter days. With the clock turned back, we suddenly 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 most recent Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) findings that approximately two-thirds (63.2 percent) of rapes/sexual assaults happen at night.
But there are a few things we can all do during the winter season to feel more prepared, better planned, and ultimately safer any time of day.
Trust Your Gut
NCVS data also uncovered that among U.S. residents aged 12 or older, the number of violent-crime incidents rose from 2.7 million in 2015 to 3.3 million in 2018, an increase of 604,000 victims. According to the report, the overall rise was due to higher numbers of victims of rape or sexual assault, aggravated assault and simple assault. These numbers aren’t meant to scare you, but we hope they’ll make you aware of potential risks we all face. Knowing the facts risks can help us all stay smarter and safer.
By listening to our instincts and being prepared for added vulnerability in the dark, we 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. Sometimes, that’s not possible, so here are a few other tips:
Stay in well-lit areas, avoiding dead-ends or isolated locations.
Be aware of your surroundings so that you can anticipate and avoid potential confrontations.
When walking at night, safety is greatly enhanced by having a companion.
If going out alone, 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.
Sound the Alarm
If you’re alone and foresee an impending confrontation or assault, a shrill alarm will startle the aggressor and potentially cause them to flee. It will 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. SABRE’s Sport & Safety Horn can be heard as far away as 885 meters (one-half mile) and doubles as a call-out at sporting events to root for your team.
Carry a Legal Device for Self Defense
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 debility and disorientation that’s long enough to allow you to flee 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 in fact 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.
At SABRE has numerous outstanding and reasonably pepper sprays, pepper gels, and stun guns, available in a variety of colors and options for wear. Those new to pepper spray may wish to start with the SABRE 3-in-1 Pepper Spray New User Kit or the Pepper Gel Kit with Keychain Pepper Gel, Practice Gel, Target & Training Video. In addition, there are kits that conveniently include both a pepper spray dispenser and stun gun, such as the SABRE Multi-Range Protection Pack Police Strength Pepper Spray plus Stun Gun or one of our three College Combo packs.
Learn How to Fight Back
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. These courses can provide instruction on how to avoid potentially dangerous situations altogether, how to protect yourself if you are confronted and proper technique for use of pepper spray/gel and stun guns. Along with wearable personal safety products, completion of a self-defense program gives participants a sense of empowerment that can positively replace feelings of fear or victimization.
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. Both of these highly recommended courses can be life-changing — and life-saving — experiences.
Being actively involved in your own personal safety will allow you to overcome any negative effects of Daylight Savings Time. In turn, this frees you up to enjoy the longer, cozy evenings and fun holiday festivities that also go hand-in-hand with this time of year. Stay safe this season with SABRE.