Safety Tips Every College Student Should Know
With the increasing rate of rape and other violent crimes on campus, it’s important that each student have some knowledge of how to keep themselves safe.
As high school students are celebrating their recent graduation and preparing for college, knowing a few tips on how to keep yourself safe can not only decrease risks of being a victim of crime on campus, but it can also help reduce some of the stress and worry that can accompany students and their parents.
Although sexual assault isn’t always discussed in introductions to new students at a university, one should be aware that these incidents do happen. Some studies have shown that 20 percent or more undergraduate females experience rape or sexual assault while attending school. And of those incidents, only a fraction of them are ever reported.
Here are a few safety tips each college student can benefit from:
Find out about your college’s campus safety programs. There should be an office where you can stop by and ask for information on these programs, as well as learn the correct procedures for active emergencies. Knowing exactly what to do in an active shooter situation, for example, can help you and others stay safe.
Know your surroundings. Try to stay in areas you know well, and always try to take a friend or two along with you if you’re planning on exploring some new shopping centers or places you haven’t been. There really is safety in numbers. Having a campus map can help you know where you’re going and can even highlight the safest routes for you to get from place to place.
Lock up. This should be a habit. When you leave your dorm or apartment, lock the door behind you. Same thing for your car. Always keep your car locked, even if you’re just going to be away from it for a few minutes. You don’t want to take any chances of having someone get into your car while you’re gone. If it’s dark, always check under your car before getting inside. From a safe distance, hit the alarm button on your car. The lights will flash enough for you to see under the car, and the loud sound just might scare off any predator.
Self Defense. Enrolling in a self-defense class is beneficial (and empowering) for anyone who wants to know how to protect themselves. Ask a friend or two to tag along. These classes are usually offered on campus or at nearby gyms.
Protection Tools. Having pepper spray is always a good protection tool to have on hand, but it can be tough to access during an attack. Personal alarms are also a great idea to have close by. Some can be attacked to your keys or your phone, and come equipped with a panic button feature that lights up the area and sounds an extremely loud noise. There are mobile apps, too. Personal alarms and apps can also give your location and provide real-time alerts to campus police, local police departments, and even close family members and friends.
By taking the time to learn more about personal safety and protection, students can breathe a little easier as they start their college career.