Safety tips for walking at night

Safety tips for walking at night

Kelly Smith

If there’s something I should tell you about walking around at night, it’s to be very cautious of your surroundings. In the marching band, we are constantly reminded of the title of one of our chorales, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and told to always be with someone while walking during the nighttime hours. This is another topic that seems like common sense, but I think it needs to be stressed just how important this is.

What’s the biggest problem with walking by yourself at night? You don’t have to dig too deep into the Lanthorn’s archives or email alerts to know that people can be attacked or robbed very easily. Being alone makes you an easier target. Even the strongest person can be caught off guard.

I’ve walked to my apartment from the Kirkhof Center numerous times at night because I’ve stayed later than the buses run. I think there’s less of a risk when you’re on campus surrounded by university buildings and other students who happen to be out as well.

What made me a bit unsettled was when I went downtown for some quick footage of one of the walkways across the river when it was lit up in blue. Unfortunately, I parked my car a few blocks away and walked to and from the bridge. The city is a different environment than our Allendale Campus, especially at night. It’s not very pleasant to realize that you’re suddenly small fish in a big pond full of bigger fish, some being piranhas. I don’t regret going downtown, just parking a few blocks away. That’s something I won’t be doing again anytime soon, nor am I recommending it to anybody else.

Grand Rapids is a very pretty city at night, especially near the Grand River. I highly encourage the drive down there to see it sometime, but be smart. See if you can get friends to join you, or if you do go alone, try to stay within a reasonable distance from your car.

In general, it’s ill-advised that you walk alone at night anywhere. However, because life happens, it might be inevitable from time to time. The important thing to remember is to stay vigilant and keep your wits about you. Just make sure you are as alert as possible about what (and who) is around. Try to find other students who are out as well and stay near them. You don’t have to be friends with them or even talk to them, but the fact that they’re there means there are witnesses if things do go sour.

Also, while I feel that staying close to buildings is wise, I also find that you should avoid getting too close to bushes, if possible. Being more in the open might seem foolish, but it means a potential attacker has to reveal themselves in order to get closer to you. Feeling nervous now? If only this world was a completely peaceful place, but it’s not, so caution is necessary.

I’m not trying to make you paranoid. I just want you to be safe when and if you ever have to walk at night. The chances of you being attacked are relatively slim. But, as with anything else, it’s good to be prepared.