Being out late at night can be dangerous, because criminals are often out under the cover of darkness. However, there is no reason not to go out at night, as long as you use your common sense. By being aware of your personal safety, you can greatly reduce the risk when you are out at night, and you may even help law enforcement to apprehend criminals.
The best way you can protect your personal safety at night is to travel with a group. A large group of individuals is intimidating to criminals when a single person is not, and members of the group can look out for each other. At a minimum, try to have at least one other person around when you are out at night, and you may want to consider setting up a buddy system with someone in your area. You should also stick to well lighted, frequently traveled areas, especially if you are out alone, because visibility augments personal safety. Try to avoid dead ends and areas of darkness, which are ideal locations for crimes. If you are out exercising and do not have a buddy, consider a large dog. If you don't want to care for a dog full-time, a neighbor might be happy to let you borrow theirs for exercise.
It is also very important to be aware of your surroundings. Look carefully around you while you travel, and take note of anything unusual. Do not use a cell phone or other electronics, because in addition to making you an excellent target for theft, they will distract you. Keep an eye on your personal belongings as well; try to use a purse or backpack which secures with tight zippers, and keep money and other valuables tucked away. Especially when traveling on buses and trains at night, be alert.
It is also an excellent idea to dress sensibly. If you are attending a night time event or walking home from work, pack a pair of practical shoes so that you can move easily. Consider changing out of a skirt or other restrictive garments into clothing which will allow a free range of movement. In addition, dress in light colors so that you are visible to motorists and other pedestrians. Have your keys handy; not only will it prevent you from having to fumble with them at the door, but keys can also be used as a self defense weapon. In addition, if you travel at night frequently, you may want to consider purchasing mace or pepper spray for personal safety.
Many communities offer self defense classes through women's shelters and local law enforcement, along with personal safety workshops. Taking a self defense class will greatly increase your personal safety by making you more self confident and able to protect yourself. Most self defense classes are offered in short segments, and are low charge or free to encourage people to take them. In a self defense class, you can also learn other valuable personal safety tips so that you can project a confident, secure image when you are out at night. To find a personal safety class in your area, use your favorite search engine to search for "self defense class" and your city.