About twenty million students attend college, roughly four million of whom are stepping onto campus for the first time. While college towns are often safe, any student could be a victim of crime on or off campus. These risks range from theft to robbery to sexual assault. This is why your child needs to know how to keep themselves safe before they leave home or return to college. Here are 6 essential campus safety tips that you can pass onto your children.
Check the Crime Stats for the Area
Before you choose a college, you should check the public crime log available through the school. They are legally required per the Clery Act to disclose all crimes that occurred on campus. Colleges are also supposed to track crime stats for offenses around campus, though you should learn about the crime rate in the general area. That allows you to identify neighborhoods around the campus that are more dangerous than others as well as issues to be aware of.
Learn About the Campus Safety Office
This is far more important than knowing where to get the best coffee or find the best parties on campus. Whether they call it a security office or campus safety office, you should know everything about this service.
You should know its office hours, the phone number, and where it is located. You need to know what to do when you need to call for help on blue light emergency phones and how to ask for an escort. You may want to install their safety app so you can contact them without having to reach an emergency phone. While you’re at it, try to become familiar with the camp’s layout. Then you can easily locate emergency systems and landmarks when you try to explain to others where you are.
Research Potential Partners and Roommates
We tend to focus on stranger danger, but it is those around us who have the greatest opportunity to harm us. This could range from a roommate who steals money or does drugs, to a romantic interest who turns violent. This is why you should know how to research potential partners and roommates before you let them into your home.
You can look up misdemeanor records using online public records. You can do this by visiting the site publicrecordsreviews.com and search through the results, all you need is a name and location, though you’ll be less likely to make a mistake when you know their birth date and where they are from. You can find out whether someone has a history of drug use, domestic violence, or are running up debts before you sign a lease and let them move in with you.
Also, make sure that you get to know them personally, and agree on a clear set of rules. You might be able to trust them, but not necessarily the people they bring with them. So, make sure that you have guidelines for bringing guests in.
There is an old saying that locks keep honest people honest. Put a lock on your bike and laptop so they can’t be stolen by casual thieves. Lock doors and windows so someone can’t enter your apartment or dorm without permission, whether they’re lost and drunk or looking for loose items to pawn off for extra money.
If you have valuable electronics in your apartment or dorm, you might want to install a security camera. Note that you may need the permission of a dorm supervisor to set this up in a dorm room. And don’t let your devices distract you. Pay attention to what is around you so that your purse or backpack isn’t stolen while you are busy texting.
Take Extra Precautions at Night
Take extra precautions at night. Don’t be irrationally afraid, but do be aware of your surroundings and know what to do if something is suspicious. You can try to avoid walking alone at night, but knowing how to call for an escort by the school is another option. Tell friends when you leave and where you’re going. Avoid heading to unknown locations, especially with people you just met, and don’t get into a stranger’s car. Consider carrying a form of self-protection, but always know how to use it.
Don’t get drunk, stoned or otherwise impaired, because this affects your judgment and makes you a more attractive target for criminals. Don’t accept substances from strangers, either. You don’t want to take a pill they offer for a headache and end up in the hospital or addicted. If you’re going to a party, make sure that it’s with people you know and trust to take you back to your room afterward.
While programs and technology offer a degree of protection, college students must learn how to take responsibility for their own safety. That is because they’re the ones who have to live with the aftermath.