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Staying safe at night: A short guide

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Cyrus Norcross | The Daily Wildcat

A student pedals past an Emergency Blue Light Telephone located on the UA Campus on May 15, 2018. The tall, bright-blue telephones are meant to stand at a visible distance from each other around campus.  

Late nights can turn into early mornings, and students may be less observant and careful as they make their way to and from events. Night safety can be crucial on a college campus and many resources are provided to create a safe time out. 

The University of Arizona campus offers many resources to keep you safe, but there are also some simple steps you can take to increase your safety at night.

Campus Safety Resources

The Daily Wildcat spoke with Officer Jesus Aguilar from the University of Arizona Police Department to discuss options available on campus to keep students safe at night.

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  • UAPD blue lights

The blue lights around campus are hard to miss. Aguilar explained that around 400 blue lights are available around campus, including stand-alone posts and smaller boxes inside buildings. Each campus garage contains at least one blue light on every level.

The blue lights connect directly to UAPD through an intercom, are easy to see and dispatch officers to the location. Aguilar recommended sticking to well-known paths with blue lights when walking at night. Aguilar said although meant for emergency situations, you can use the blue lights if you see suspicious activity as well.

  • LiveSafe app

Aguilar recommended the LiveSafe app, which is available to all students and UA staff through the app store. The app provides incident reporting, contact with emergency responders and virtual walks home with friends and family. You can use the app to take videos, pictures and recordings of suspicious activity and report it. Virtual walks share your location with a set amount of people as you walk alone or in a group.

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  • ASUA SafeRide

The university allows students to use ASUA SafeRide, a free rideshare option for those who need a ride home. This prevents students from walking late at night alone or driving intoxicated. To get a ride, call 520-621-SAFE.

  • Take a self defense class at the Student Recreation Center

Classes available at the Rec Center include Krav Maga, close quarters combative and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. All classes may require a fee prior to entry. Class descriptions and schedules are available on the Student Recreation Center website.

RideShare Safety Tips

Uber and Lyft are often used around college campuses. The companies have set in place safety measures, such as pictures of the driver, providing the license plate and allowing you to share your current location. 

  • Check the license plate

Take the time to check that the car you are getting into is the car you ordered.

  • Ride with friends

Riding with friends creates a safer environment, according to Women Against Crime, an organization dedicated to preventing assault and violence. Those who travel in packs are less vulnerable.

  • Share your location

Most rideshare apps allow you to share your real-time location with whomever you want. Apps like Lyft suggest you send your location to a friend, family member or significant other. Those who you shared with can recognize how long it should take you to get home and where you were in case of an emergency. 

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Night safety tips

Self-defense can be a variety of actions, passive and active. An active defense is Krav Maga, a mixed martial arts developed by the Israeli Defense Forces. Victoria Suchanek is a staff member of Rising Phoenix, a martial arts gym located in Tucson that focuses on Krav Maga self-defense training, and explained that Krav Maga uses, “your body’s natural instincts and turns them into a combative form.” 

Suchanek outlined the most important tips to avoid dangerous situations at night. 

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People taking a self defense class at Rising Phoenix on 4500 E. Speedway Blvd. 


  • Place your Uber or Lyft ride in a well lit area

Being aware of the surroundings is an important aspect while walking and riding, and it should become an unconscious behavior, Suchanek advised.

  • Situational awareness

At night don’t be on your phone or blasting music, as it takes away attention from two out of five senses, Suchanek said. This does not mean you must look every chance you get, but that recognizing who and what is behind you will prepare you for anything.

Suchanek said that, specifically for women, looking down to avoid eye contact with strange men sounds like a good idea. However, this creates a look that is less confident and provides context to a predator that you are more vulnerable. 

“Predators for the most part are cowards,” Suchanek said.

Looking up and directly forward will show that you know where you’re going and that you are aware of your surroundings.

  • Stay in a group

Individuals in a group are less vulnerable to attacks or uncomfortable situations. An increased risk of human trafficking and assault occurs when individuals are alone. The National Human Trafficking Resource hotline received over 3,598 cases in 2014 and the number continues to rise, according to Polaris Project’s article on human trafficking’s legal framework. 

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  • Use your voice

Using your voice is one of the most important tactics taught in the self-defense classes. As females, we may get told “to shut up a lot,” Suchanek said. But “help” and “no” are not the most effective words to yell because they do not communicate your situation. 

“The instructors advocate yelling things that are assertive commands but still communicate your situation,” Suchanek said.

Suchanek gave an example of better phrases to use from the female defense class: “back off,” “get away from me” and “let go of me.” This not only draws attention to you but it also overloads the attacker's senses. Do not feel embarrassed to yell, because, in the end, your safety is a priority.

  • Create a weapon

Suchanek's final tip was to use whatever you have handy and turn it into a weapon. If you do not own a defense tool, consider buying a stake-like apparatus that can attach to your keys. Something as simple as a Hydroflask can be used to swing and cause real damage.

For more information on self defense, or to sign up for a class, visit Rising Phoenix's website.


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Updated October 20, 2021