Practicing common sense when arriving home in the dark could save your life
Vienna police (LPD Wien) have issued a list of tips for how to stay safe at night in the Austrian capital now that winter is almost here, and dusk arrives quite early.
Those tips may be common sense to some, but even paying more attention to safety tips you have already been taught could save you from being attacked, having your home invaded, or worse.
Tips for how to stay safe at night in Vienna via LPD Wien are:
- Make sure your lights are on — inside and out. That means having outside lights lit over doors at night, and making sure there is a light inside the front door of your home or apartment building. That way you are not stepping into a dark hallway.
- Don’t leave your windows tilted open — Many apartments and homes in Vienna have tilted windows that tilt open and leave a large enough gap for someone to climb in. During the darker winter months especially, when it is more difficult to see someone standing outside, make sure your windows are closed. And locked. Tilted windows are fine on a higher floor, although if you have a balcony connected to other people’s balconies, you should also keep them closed/locked.
- Keep your doors locked — Always keep your doors locked, but especially at night.
- Have motion detectors and lights outdoors — If you own a home, make sure you have motion detectors connected to lights outside your doors and windows. They not only make it safer for you arriving home when it is dark, they also make it much easier to see someone lurking around. If you don’t own a home, ask your landlord to install them.
- Stick together with your neighbors — Make sure you know your neighbors, and offer them help if it appears they may be in trouble. They will hopefully do the same for you.
- Never hide keys outside — While some people still think it is fine to hide a key outside in “an area nobody will find”, it is too easy for someone to see you hiding the key, and then use it to break into your home while you are gone. Or, even worse, while you are at home. And for God’s sake (my stress and not LPD Wien’s!), don’t leave a key under the mat!
- Call the emergency 133 number immediately — should you see a suspicious person, or suspect something doesn’t seem right. Better to be safe than sorry. ( Ambulance is 144, Fire-brigade 122).
Additionally I will add a couple of safety tips for how to stay safe at night in Vienna, not only in the darker winter months, but at any time of the year:
- Have your key ready — The last thing you should be doing when arriving home in the dark is standing on your doorstep rummaging through your bag or pockets trying to find your key. Have your key in your hand as you step up to the door as that minimizes the time you spend standing outside in the dark trying to get in.
- For women living alone, once you are home, don’t open your door to a knock or a doorbell ring — Not unless you are expecting someone to visit, and are sure it is them.
- Don’t let people into your secured building — I have seen this happen many times in Vienna, and I don’t understand why more people are not careful. Don’t let someone into your building just because they are standing in the doorway waiting. Buildings are secured with buzzers connected to each apartment for a reason. If a person is waiting but has not been buzzed into the building by someone living there, they should not be admitted.
- Don’t wear headphones at night — Most have noise cancelling technology, which prevents you hearing someone walking up to you, or any unexpected sounds.
Follow these tips for how to stay safe at night in Vienna, via the Vienna police (and me) and you have a much higher chance of being safe and staying safe.
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