Daylight Saving Time is over, and the nights just got longer. While people are often concerned about adjusting their sleep schedules, there is a darker reality about personal health and safety.
Night is not only scary because of our Hollywood-goaded paranoias about times when crime happens; it is also the time when real safety hazards are increased. Studies have shown that when DST starts, crime goes down; this translates to a rise in crime once we go back to “normal” time for fall. Check out this data on nighttime driving and the safety hazards posed.
AEGIS Security & Investigations reminds you to follow your best safety guide: use common sense! Nonetheless, we have some additional tips to stay safe at night.
As the days get shorter, it is important to be aware of the safety issues you may encounter, particularly with driving.
- As a pedestrian, stay off your phone when crossing streets. Take the childhood lesson of looking both ways before crossing seriously as accidents involving pedestrians increase in the fall and winter.
- When you are driving, be sure to follow public safety procedures. Be on the lookout for cars that forget to turn their headlights on near dusk, and be sure you have yours turned on even if there is “some” light out to make you more visible.
- Follow city park rules regarding hours of operation. Many parks in Los Angeles are open from sunrise to sunset and do not have adequate lighting for an evening jog.
- Avoid walking in dark areas alone. If you can, have a buddy. If you have to be alone, do not stare at your phone. Instead, consider making a phone call so someone knows where you are and can make another call in case of an emergency.
Because of reduced visibility, safety concerns with people who may face stalkers are greater. Check out our tips on handling stalkers. If you are in school or another place where you will be out late, consider these tips:
- Carry your phone in your hand so it is visible. This lets others know you have 911 at the tip of your fingers.
- Do not play on your phone or text. Being on a call is a good idea, but only if you are still aware of your surroundings.
- Keep the earbuds out of your ears. Look, listen and pay attention in dark settings.
- Keep your keys visible and in a strong grip if you are approaching your car. You do not want to hold them loosely (they could be stolen that way), but putting a key between two of your fingers in an “attack position” shows you are willing to defend yourself.
- Take lighted paths whenever possible. If a path is not well-lit, avoid it.
- Walk with friends.
As night creeps earlier and earlier into our work day, our homes are left more vulnerable. Follow these tips to keep your home safe when you are out and about.
- Lock windows and doors every time your house is going to be empty OR if you are leaving someone home alone or kids with a babysitter.
- If possible, leave a car in the driveway so it looks like someone is home.
- Install an automatic light system that turns lights on near entrances to the home. If you have a motion-activated light outside the home, be sure to check the batteries and replace them before they potentially fail.
- If you have an alarm, set it every time you plan to leave the house for an extended period of time into the night or through the night.
- When you are leaving and returning home, observe the neighborhood. Note any suspicious vehicles and check-in with neighbors to see if they have noticed anyone strange in the area. It is possible that a new vehicle belongs to a burglar “casing” houses.
- Install a security system that includes cameras. Check out some of our favorites.
If you live in a community ,have a Homeowner’s Association, or are part of a neighborhood watch, consider hiring a patrol service for fall and winter months. Even having a decoy patrol car parked in a highly visible part of the development can deter criminals.
AEGIS offers additional patrol services with physical security officers — check us out. Additional safety elements you and your community may want to consider include the following:
- Start a neighborhood watch.
- Check in with neighbors if you suspect there has been a problem with their home safety.
- Inform neighbors if you are having a large gathering that will mean a lot of new cars are parked along the street.
- Inform your city representatives and power company when street lights are not working to have it fixed quickly.
AEGIS Security & Investigations is a Los Angeles region company that is licensed and insured in the State of California to provide high-end armed and unarmed regular and temporary off-duty police officers, bodyguards, security officers, loss prevention agents, and event staff. Additionally, we offer services for private investigation, consultation, people tracing, and background investigation. Our trainings and workshops in the field of security licensure and counter-terrorism have been featured in news media and are renowned for their efficacy. For more information or to contact us, visit www.aegis.com.
By Chelsea Turner & Jeff Zisner