Many college students are simply unaware that they must look out for their personal safety and security at college. Be sure to talk with your college-bound student about campus safety. This may be the first time that they are away from home without a family member or close friend to look after them. They must get used to new ways of doing things, a new place and a new schedule which may leave them walking around unfamiliar areas at odd times of the day and night.
1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
A first step in campus safety is to simply be aware of their surroundings. It is always inappropriate to walk around with headphones on because they cannot hear traffic or other potential threats, like a quick thief who loves a distracted target. Students must be aware of safe areas and potentially risky areas. Students should know which areas are well-lit at night and which areas are busy or deserted during different times of day. They should know which route they are taking and avoid deserted shortcuts whenever possible. I suggest that all students walk with their keys and/or a whistle in their hands, especially if they feel unsafe. These are quick, easy ways to face a potentially dangerous situation.
2. Avoid Walking Alone
Also, they should walk in pairs or small groups whenever possible. Many campuses have a Safe Walk program or shuttle program where students can call for a walking partner or a ride when they might not have friends to walk them home late at night from the library or a party.
3. Have a “Partner in Crime Prevention”
Emily Marks of the University Herald includes some excellent campus safety suggestions in her video. One of the biggest threat to young people on campuses these days might actually be acquaintances who end up committing acts of date rape. It is always best if a student’s roommate, close friend or family member knows who they are with and where they might be at all times. This is especially true for a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night when students are more likely to drink. Students who are cautious and trust their instincts can stay safe. When in doubt, they should talk to their Dean of Students or trusted staff member at their campus about ways to stay safe on campus.
4. Campus Safety Information is Published
If you are currently in high school and researching schools, please ask about safety and security on campus! If you have a visit on a campus, make sure to use these tips to stay safe. If you want to talk more about how to research this topic before making your final decision, contact us at My College Planning Team. We are happy to assist in any way we can.