Walking alone at night? Here's how the Cincinnati Police Department stays safe

Learn how to use your phone's emergency SOS mode
How to stay safe when walking alone at night
How to stay safe when walking alone at night
Posted at 4:30 AM, Dec 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-20 06:16:43-05

CINCINNATI -- Walking by yourself at night can be troubling for anybody -- even for Cincinnati Police Sgt. Eric Franz and his son.

“My son is at Ohio State, and I make him, if he's walking across campus, he has to call me on his phone and we FaceTime and talk while he's walking back and forth," Franz said.

Being alert rather than mindlessly playing on a cellphone as you walk is one simple thing you can do to keep would-be criminals away from you.

"You want to talk to whoever is there and tell them what's going on around you," Franz said. "Even turn around and say, 'Hey, look! There's the guy that's pestering me,' and that's going to encourage them to leave."

Sgt. Eric Franz demonstrates the emergency modes on Apple and Android phones.

Now, there's an iPhone hack specially intended for emergency situations.

"If you hit the lock button five times, it brings up a little screen," Franz explained. "It says slide for Emergency SOS and you can slide that. It'll give you an option to call someone you know or dial 911."

It's so easy and quick, Franz dialed through while demonstrating the feature.

"It actually just dialed 911 right now ... so, we'll be getting a call back from the center in a second," he said.

The option is also available on Android phones. 

"Just get your screen up -- you hit the phone button on the lower left-hand side. It'll give you an option to call 911 or emergency contact once you slide it up," Franz said.

With your phone in one hand, keep your keys in the other, Franz suggested.

"Have your car keys with the alarm button, and if someone approaches you and you're near a car -- just hold the alarm button down. The horn will start beeping, and they will run away," Franz said.

Most robberies happen when people are not paying attention to their surroundings, Franz said.

"Looking at their phone, fumbling with their purse or keys -- when you walk to and from somewhere, you're much less likely to be a victim of a crime if you simply look at your surroundings," Franz said.