There are definite common sense tips you can keep in mind while you’re checking out the latest club. The vast majority of crime is opportunistic – so minimize your chances of having a bad experience before you go out. A little planning ahead of time can go a long way in having a safe and fun night out with friends.

Protecting Your Valuables
Make sure you go to an unfamiliar club or party with someone you know. This may seem like elementary advice but there really is safety in numbers. Even a pair of girls out on the town together could find themselves in questionable situations. Attackers generally view girls as more vulnerable and as easier targets to score valuables and cash. Personal attack alarms are an inexpensive option to increase safety.

Always keep keys and cash tucked away so you’ll always have a way home if you get separated from the people you went out with. Consider carrying a phone card if you aren’t carrying a cell phone. If you do take a cell phone with you, make sure you have the number of a taxi service programmed into your phone book.

Most crime is targeted at purses and mobile phones. Keep these items on your person at all times but keep in mind that it may become a hassle to keep up with these items while you’re out and about. You may want to just tuck your cash and necessities in your pockets to cut down on the temptation to thieves attracted to purses and bags.

Drinking While You’re Out
Probably one of the most important considerations when at a party, club, or bar is to always keep your drink with you and covered at all times. Don’t let strangers buy you drinks. Open your own containers. The popularity of “club” or “date rape” drugs as a tool for sexual assault is a definite safety concern. These drugs are odorless, tasteless, colorless and easily obtained. They can go undetected when mixed with a drink.
Effects of "Club" or "Date Rape" Drugs

* Loss of control, consciousness or semi-consciousness
* Loss of inhibition
* Confusion, amnesia, blackouts
* Dizziness, vomiting
* Slow reaction time
* A high or euphoric feeling followed by a low

If you or your friends experience any of the symptoms above or any unexplained symptoms, tell someone immediately. Attempt to keep a sample of the drink for later laboratory testing. It’s against the law to sell, administer, or otherwise provide these drugs to another person. Don’t accept cigarettes from people you don’t know either. These can be altered with drugs that may leave you vulnerable as well.

Alcohol is often a part of going out. Keep in mind that your ability to stay alert to danger and anticipate trouble will be greatly reduced if you’re intoxicated. You can’t always rely on your friends to take care of you if they’re in the same state of mind. Your safety is ultimately your own responsibility.

Going Home
When it’s time to go home, don’t make the mistake of accepting a ride with someone you don’t know well or with an acquaintance of another one of your friends. Also, even though it’s a nice gesture, don’t offer rides home to people you don’t know. Let the group you went out with know you are leaving and give them a call when you get home for extra assurance.

There’s a lot of warning about being wary of strangers but this advice doesn’t mean you need to be unfriendly. Part of the appeal of going out to a club is to meet new people. Just always keep in mind that a late night party scene isn’t always the best atmosphere in which to judge someone’s character. Pay attention to your intuition. Pay attention to changes in moods and atmospheres. Don’t hesitate to leave a club if you begin to feel uncomfortable.