How to Keep Safe While Walking Home at Night

Keep safe walking home

If you’re forced to walk home at night, one of the best and most effective ways of ensuring that you reach your destination safely is to have a companion along for the journey. Assailants tend to strike single targets, rather than couples or small groups that can be more difficult for them to successfully subdue on their own. While men should certainly be cautious when they’re walking home at night, it’s especially important for women to understand the dangers of walking alone at night and to be aware of the best ways to reduce their chances of being the victim of violent crime.

Project Confidence

When you’re walking, make sure that you take a well-known and familiar route so you don’t look confused or lost, and that you project plenty of confidence along the way. Violent criminals target potential victims that appear vulnerable, and may choose not to engage with a woman who projects an air of strength and seems to know exactly where she’s going. If you’re so nervous about walking home that you don’t feel you’d be able to project that self-assurance, it may be smarter to opt for mass transit or even spring for a taxi, rather than anxiously making the trek back home.

Avoid Dark Areas

It may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how easily some people can be tempted into taking a shortcut through an alley or walking across a dark parking lot to shorten their journey back home. Whether you’re alone or in a group, it’s best to restrict your route to well-lit areas, always try to stay under streetlights and never duck into a shadowy area simply because it will shorten your walk. Attackers want as much seclusion as they can get to lower their chances of being spotted by passersby. If you’re hidden in the shadows with someone who has dangerous intentions, you may not be able to safely attract the attention of anyone passing by.

Wear Sensible Shoes

No matter how excited you are to wear your brand new heels, you should avoid them if you know you’ll be walking home after dark. If you’re insistent upon wearing fashionable but less-than-sensible footwear for an evening out on the town, be sure that you stash a pair of ballet flats into your bag to wear as you walk home. Should you need to outrun a potential attacker, you’ll have far better chances escaping if you’re not wearing precariously high heels that increase your risk of falling, twisting an ankle or just being slowed down dramatically by your lack of balance.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

When you’re projecting confidence on your way down the street, don’t be so confident that you pop in a pair of earbuds and ignore everything around you. A long walk might be more enjoyable if you’re able to listen to your favorite songs, but it will also make you less likely to hear someone approaching and can distract you enough that you don’t notice a threatening figure until it’s too late. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted so that you’re never unpleasantly surprised.

Keep Your Cell Phone Charged

Talking on your cell phone as you make your way home may seem like an effective way to discourage an attacker, but it can actually distract you enough that you don’t notice their approach. Taking advantage of someone is easier when they’re distracted, so make sure that you have your phone charged and readily available, but don’t spend your walk home chattering away. You should make sure that it’s within a moment’s reach, however, so that you can quickly dial for help if you spot something suspicious.

Carry a Deterrent

Non-violent deterrents like pepper spray or mace can buy you enough time to successfully evade a would-be attacker and seek help, and as such are great tools to keep on hand if you frequently walk home alone. Be sure before purchasing a canister of mace or pepper spray, however, that it’s compliant with all state and local laws. The maximum concentration legally allowable can vary from one state or city to another, so you’ll need to double check before heading out of the house with a deterrent that it isn’t illegal in your area.

Today’s article courtesy of

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Well, it’s that time of the year again, when we begin the countdown to the start of the Writers’ Police Academy. As usual, we’ve outdone ourselves by planning the largest, most exciting WPA ever. I didn’t think that was possible, but we did it.

As they say, we have all our ducks in a row. Speakers and instructors are lined up. The updated WPA website is well underway and should be available for all to see within a couple of weeks. Registration, if all goes as planned, should open in mid-February. And best of all, Sisters in Crime is once again paying well over half of the cost of their members’ registration fees. Not a member? No, problem. Simply join SinC and you’ll instantly receive their generous discounted WPA registration.

*Due to the popularity of the WPA, space for the 2013 event is extremely limited. So please watch for the opening of registration. This one is not to be missed!

To kick things off this year, we’re running a super-easy contest, and here’s how it goes. The first person to guess the name of the 2013 WPA keynote speaker wins a free FATS session (Firearms Simulator Training). I’ll post clues each day, starting today, until Monday when I’ll reveal the names of the winner and of the keynote speaker. You must, however, send your guess to me via email at Please DO NOT post the name on this website!! We want to give everyone a shot at this.

So here goes, and good luck!

The first three clues are:

Clue #1 – One of his/her books was made into a mid-90’s TV movie.

#2 – He/she sold his/her first book at the ripe old age of 20.

#3 – This superstar author used to work in the food service industry.

*Remember, send your guess to me at DO NOT post your answer in the comments section of this blog!  Doing so will automatically disqualify your entry.

The first correct answer receives the free FATS session at the 2013 WPA. The session is for the winner of this contest only, and is not transferable. There is no redeemable cash value.

5 replies
  1. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Sadly, SZ, the good luck didn’t hold out for the entire week. I’ve just learned of an officer’s death that occurred today, after this post went online.

  2. SZ
    SZ says:

    The iPhone 4 does not have the built in flashlight my old android had. While looking for an app one of the first to come up was called “Cop Radio” lol. It’s a cool app

    Glad to here this was a good week for our heros. Let’s do it again next week !

  3. Jodie
    Jodie says:

    Great advice. Anthony’s advice about the flashlight is good. The flashlight could also be used as a weapon.

  4. Anthony
    Anthony says:

    I totally agree traveling in pairs is the main gist of safety at night. However, there were some key things missed:

    Carry a high-powered flashlight. They are now inexpensive and even small. Criminals don’t like light. I’ve had a homeless person literally hiss at me when I lit him up with my Surefire.

    For deterrent, carry and sidearm you are trained with. For the most part, most jurisdictions and states have easy to get permits to carry a pistol (if I permit is required at all).

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