Doing some preliminary homework can save you major aggravation in the end.
(As in, not one of your apartments.) This just adds an additional layer of security.
Consider signing on a girlfriend to back you up in the safety department.
First and foremost: Let her know whenever you're going on the date and where you're going.
You could also check in with her a few hours into the date to let her know you're a-okay. If you feel early on like something is off, excuse yourself and text a friend to come meet you.
If you sense danger, keep your wits about you and safely exit as quickly as possible.
If you feel more comfortable having an "out," in case the date goes awry, you can always start off your date on the early side, or tell your date that you to leave to meet your friends afterward.
The most important way to date safely and smartly is to not get ahead of yourself.
Although you can gather a lot of info about someone via text and email, there's nothing like hearing a guy's voice and engaging in some back and forth banter to feel him out.
Have a decent sense of who he is before agreeing to meet him: At the very least, make sure you have his full name and what he does for a living.
Watch out for anything he says or does that makes you think twice—i.e.
inappropriate comments off the bat, acting overly familiar too quickly, anything that sets off your instincts.