Planning for the new school year is fun and exciting — but thinking about college safety is imperative, even for returning students. College campus security is a fundamental right for any student, but sometimes things happen that are out of your control. With the new school year upon us, it’s a great time to look at helpful, smart college safety tips that could help keep you (or your kids) secure this year.
- Start with the college Campus Security building. Find out where it is, how closely it’s located to the dorm, what its hours of operation are and where security officers will be throughout the campus.
- Next, check the student handbook for emergency services. It’s a smart idea to save telephone numbers for security and the health center in your cell phone: relying on Wi-Fi to boot up the school’s website could cost you valuable time. You should also have the telephone number for a local hospital in your phone, as well as a cab service: you never know when you might need them.
- Finally, take a walk around the campus during the day. Many college safety programs utilize emergency phones on campus that offer a direct line to the security building. It’s a smart idea to know where they are, in case you need help and your cell phone isn’t available or operational.
College Campus Security in Your Dorm Room
In this case, safety begins at home. Not all crime on college campuses happens outside: you may find yourself in a predicament right in your own dorm. To reduce the risk of being harmed, follow a few basic rules:
- Always, always lock your door — even if you’re just popping into another friend’s room.
- Keep your school ID, your license, your Social Security Card and any documentation with your SSN or ID number in a safe or a lockable drawer.
- Lock up your lap tops, cell phones or other gadgetry when you’re not in the room.
- If you’re allowed to light candles in your room, make sure they’re fully out when you leave. Double check: it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Keep your floors clean — and not just because Mom says so. You’ll want a clear pathway in and out of your room at all times.
- Find out where the emergency exits and stairwells are in your dorm.
- Report suspicious looking people to security. If you see an unfamiliar face in the hall, let your residence director know.
Crime on College Campuses and the Surrounding Areas: How to Stay Safe
One of the most exciting parts of any college experience is getting to know the people around you. But for the average college student, safety takes a back seat to exploring new areas and spending time with new people at parties. When you’re out and about, these college safety tips can help protect you off campus, too.
- Never go anywhere alone. The buddy system is crucial. Studies show that an attacker is far less likely to approach a group of people than a single person. Whenever you can, take a friend — or three — when you venture off campus.
- Tell someone where you’re going. Even if it’s a trip to the library at 2:00pm on a Tuesday, let someone know where you are.
- Stay in well-lit areas. Many crimes on college campuses occur in poorly lit areas, or in places that are less visible to other students simply because of their structural design. Whenever you can, walk as closely to the lights on your campus.
- Keep an eye on your drinks. Whether your school allows open containers or you’re off campus completely, never leave a drink unattended. You can ask someone you trust to hold onto your drink or take it with you when you leave the room: just make sure someone you trust has eyes on it. Because in this scenario for college students, there’s safety in numbers once again.
The most important rule for any college student is to use common sense. If it feels wrong, it probably is. If you make it a habit to follow these basic tips, you can protect yourself more fully. You can have an even better experience at school this year by doing so — and who wouldn’t want that?