How to Be Safe – College Campus Life
College campuses seem to be such friendly, happy places – until something goes wrong. There is crime on campuses – thousands of crimes a day, in fact – from theft of a bike or valuables from a dorm room, to car break-ins, to muggings and rape. A campus is just like a small town, and it is comprised of every type of personality. Not everyone is a “good guy,” and that is the first thing students must understand if they intend to protect themselves and their belongings. Here are some tips that will help to keep you safe and secure on campus.
- Don’t leave valuables in plain sight – in classrooms, student centers, or the library. All you have to do is look away, get up and turn your back for a minute, and you can be the victim of theft. Never leave your laptop, tablet or phone on a table while you go to get something, unless someone you trust can keep an eye on your things for you.
- Don’t leave valuables in plain sight in your car. Student parking lots are the scenes of a huge number of crimes. With so many cars packed in, it’s easy for a thief to “scout” and then smash a window to get something of value from a car. And, no matter how old and “junky” you think your car is, someone will be happy to hotwire it and drive it off. Lock your doors.
- Always check your back seat before you get into your car. This hold true especially at night. Don’t just glance at the seat area. Look at the floor are too.
- Lock your dorm room or apartment/house all the time – when you leave and even after you return. While this may not prevent someone from breaking in, thieves will take the “path of least resistance” and will check for unlocked doors first.
- Don’t display lots of cash or expensive jewelry while you are “out and about.” In fact, don’t carry large amounts of cash with you at all. If you have to for some reason, put the large amount elsewhere on your body – not in your wallet or purse. There are some great small money holders that can wrap around an ankle and be hidden by pants or inside clothing. Invest in one if you have to carry cash.
- Walk in numbers, especially at night, and stay on well-lit paths. During the day, campuses are busy places, and you are pretty safe as long as you do not go off into hidden areas of buildings and campus grounds. At night, however, it’s a different story. Whether you are male or female, always walk with at least one other person at night.
- Get a really good lock for your bike. It should be a strong cable and should go through the wheel and the frame. Most bike thefts occur because a bike wasn’t locked. Even if a thief has a cable cutter, it takes some time, and there is always the risk of being seen.
- Register your bike with campus security.
- Have ID numbers engraved on your expensive electronics. Your phone may have a GPS, but most other devices do not. Most stolen devices end up in pawn shops, and if you have an ID number, police can find it, and sometimes the thief too.
- Don’t go to a party by yourself unless you know the host well. And even if you are having the greatest time ever, don’t stay on if your friend decides to leave. You will be with a houseful of relative strangers and become a prime crime target.
- Fix your own drinks at a party. Never accept a drink from a stranger, and that includes an open beer or soda can.
- Most campuses have emergency call boxes on regular pathways. Make it a point to learn where they are on the most common pathways you take.
- Be vigilant. If you see something suspicious or unusual, call campus security right away. Everyone is “in this” together.
- Never have sex without sober consent of your partner. This goes without saying.
Much of safety on campus falls on you – being aware of your surroundings and those who are in your surroundings. You can reduce your chances of being a crime victim just buy taking these simple steps.