Staying safe on campus
College should be a time for broadening your horizons and opening yourself to new ideas and experiences. The freedom and excitement that college offers leads many students to gain a sense of limitless potential (which is good) and invincibility (which can be problematic). Unfortunately, there are over 75,000 crimes committed every year on college campuses across the nation, and violent crimes, including assault and rape, are not uncommon. It’s important that all students form practical strategies for staying safe in college.
Campus safety is an issue at all colleges. The good news is that if you take the right precautions and make good decisions, you can help ensure that you remain safe, and you can free your mind to focus on other things, like your academics and social life. The following strategies can help you stay safe on campus:
- Become an expert on the geography of your campus and the surrounding area. Know which paths and parking lots are well-lit and safe to travel through at night. Travel in groups whenever you can. Many campuses offer an escort service for walking across campus at night. Find out the location of all emergency phones.
- Don’t wear headphones when walking alone on campus.
- Input local emergency numbers into your cell phone.
- Make sure that your friends and parents know your schedule, including any extracurricular activities that you’re involved in. Someone should know where you are at all times.
- Report any violence and abuse (physical, sexual and even emotional) that you see to the proper authorities.
- Look for “red flags” or warning signs from acquaintances that you don’t trust. Many crimes are committed by someone the victim knows.
Dorm and Apartment Safety
The following safety tips can keep you safe when you’re at home:
- Don’t let anyone into your room or apartment whom you don’t know and trust.
- Lock all your doors (and any windows large enough to be used for entry) at night and every time you leave, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
- Never lend your key to anyone.
- Consider leaving a light / radio / television on when you leave so that it appears someone is home.
- Before you move into a new neighborhood, make sure it’s safe. Scout it out on a weekend night to check for rowdy outdoor parties.