Three easy precautions that help you stay safe at night


Shelby Tankersley

One of the features of the basic RAD program is learning to use a key chain for simple self defense maneuvers. All participants in the class receive one, and it is easily attached to a key ring.

Going out alone at night can be nerve-wracking for anyone. Being alone in the dark can feel like being in a horror movie.

According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, adult crime hits its peak at 10 p.m. So, the night is feared for good reason, but simple fixes in the ways people conduct themselves can them feel safer.

Using the buddy system is best, but not always possible.

Rodney Price from the Professional Karate Schools of America, along with the Oakland University Police Department’s Lieutenant Terry Ross and Sergeant Donald Blalock shared some advice for those who get nervous walking alone at night.

Pay attention

Both Price and Blalock emphasized being aware of what’s going on around you.

“If you’re not aware, someone can easily grab ahold of you or push you down or worse,” Price said. “Making eye contact is also a great way to stay aware of your surroundings.”

Blalock reaffirmed that being aware of your surroundings is one of the easiest ways to stay safe. Not only that, but paying attention isn’t very hard to do.

Don’t text and walk

Price said, aside from looking around you, not looking down at the ground or a cell phone can make a big difference in staying alert.

“Everybody has cell phones,”he said. “They’re always looking down. It’s okay to look at your cell phone, but make sure you’re looking up often and paying attention. You can’t pay attention to your surroundings if you’re looking down all of the time.”

Get educated

Price, Blalock and Ross all agreed that taking some kind of self-defense class is the best way to be confident when out alone. OU offers a Rape Aggression Defense, or RAD, program for women.

“Knowledge is power,” Ross said. “Take a RAD class. It’s 18 hours of training that will last you the rest of your life. Training is power, knowledge is power.”

RAD started at OU in 1998 and has been around ever since.

Basic RAD is taught at the beginning of the fall and winter semesters, and an advanced version is taught in March, but OUPD will run other classes for groups upon request. On top of that, the classes are free for OU students and affiliates.

“We have people come back to us years later, after they’ve started families,” Blalock said. “And they call us or email us and say, ‘Hey, I remember this. I’ve had to use a technique and it worked.’ For me, at least, that is awfully rewarding. That’s why we do what we do.”