With your new-found freedom at college, sometimes safety precautions are the furthest thing from your mind. However, from the college dorm life reality of someone stealing something from your room to running into trouble while walking home from a late class, all students should include campus safety do’s and don’ts on their list of college know-how. Read on for the top 10 things all students should be aware of.
Campus safety top 10
- Do know your surroundings. Learn the routes and neighborhoods you will be using regularly to get to classes and your dorm or apartment. When you are distracted or unaware, you give an assailant the perfect opportunity to rob or attack you.
- Don’t walk alone at night. Find a friend to walk with you and choose well-lit paths, avoid shortcuts, and know where the emergency phones are located on your route. If you have to go out alone, contact campus safety to see if your college offers an escort or shuttle program.
- Do share your class and activity schedule with family. The “Fundamentals of College Safety” post on CollegeView explains, “This will let others know of your location as well as when your classes and activities are finished, effectively creating a type of ‘buddy’ system.”
- Do keep your dorm room locked. This is important even during the day or when you and your roommate are both in the room. It adds another level of security to college dorm life. Never sleep with your dorm room unlocked, either, and always ask someone who they are before opening your door.
- Do communicate with campus police. If you see someone being victimized, notice any unsafe conditions, such as street lamps that are out, or see any suspicious people, contact campus safety immediately—it is what they are there for.
- Don’t let a stranger into the dorms. If you don’t recognize the person, you shouldn’t let them follow you into the dorm.
- Do check your car before entering it. Even during the day, make sure that no one is in the back seat or on the rear floor before getting into the car.
- Don’t exercise alone at night. If you and a friend do decide to run or jog at night, you both should wear reflective vests.
- Do cross the street if you think you are being followed. If the person continues to follow you, keep crossing back and forth, call for help, enter a building, or do something to attract attention.
- Do assess the situation. If you are confronted by an assailant, sometimes fighting back or yelling for help can scare them off. Other times, it can anger the person. Gustavus Adolphus College’s Crime Prevention Tips post advises, “Above all you must keep your head and assess the situation before choosing your course of action. Whether or not the assailant is armed or has made threats against your life should be a determining factor in your decision. The key word in this type of situation is survival.”
When it comes to sexual assault, Gustavus Adolphus College’s post also encourages students to report the matter immediately, even if victims don’t want to pursue any charges. “Keep in mind that an assailant who is allowed to go free is a potential future danger, not only to you but also to other members of the community.”
Hopefully, you won’t ever need to make use of these particular college survival tips, but, when it comes to campus safety, it is always better to be safe than sorry!