The school year is fast approaching and with the start of school brings a large number of incoming freshmen to the countries Colleges and Universities. To most families this is a joyous occasion, but can also be an intimidating endeavor to some. Each year and at every facility of higher learning campus crimes such as rape, robbery, and assault are in the news. Not only does a student have the responsibility of taking their education to a higher level, it is also their responsibility to prepare for their safety while away at school.
With this in mind here are some tips and ideas that should help everyone to feel safe and secure.
o Incoming freshmen should “decline” any invitations to have photographs or personal information published for distribution to the campus community. Fraternities and upperclassmen have abused this type of publication and like to “target” naive freshmen. Female students need to be extra cautious of any requests for pictures and personal information.
o Do some recon of your neighborhood and the campus in regards to your routes from to and from each of your classes. Find out where the emergency phones and campus police stations are.
o Make sure that you let your parents and some friends know your class and activities schedule, give emergency contact information to your institution. Give all of your contact information such as cell number, home number, roommate’s cell number, and address to your parents, guardians, and close friends.
o Always travel with a group, if possible create a “buddy system” that can be used for travel to and from classes. Use a shuttle service after dark. Never walk alone at night. Avoid “shortcuts” as a few extra minutes travel time is well worth your personal safety.
o Study the campus, academic buildings, residence halls, and other facilities while regular classes are being held, and after dark to see what buildings, walkways, quad areas, and parking lots are adequately secure, have appropriate lighting and are patrolled. Are emergency phones readily available, campus escort services supplied, and are the shuttle services secure and timely?
o To get an idea of the social climate of the university, drive down fraternity row on a weekend night or take a walk through the student hangouts. Do you see people behaving in a responsible manner, or does the mood seem reckless and dangerous? Are the people drinking and using drugs, is there a law enforcement presence? Remember that alcohol and/or drug abuse is involved in up to 90 percent of campus crime. Take time to carefully evaluate off-campus student housing, apartment complexes, and fraternity houses if you plan to live off campus.
Additional Campus Safety Tips:
o Don’t carry a purse or back pack on each shoulder.
o Don’t carry large amounts of cash.
o Don’t flaunt expensive jewelry.
o Lock valuables in the trunk. Don’t leave CD’s, tapes, textbooks, backpacks visible on car seats.
o Never leave your book bag, purse, or cell phone unattended in the library, classrooms or on the rest room floor. Keep these items with you – it only takes a second for someone to take one of these items when unattended.
o While driving, if you notice that you are being followed, do not go home. Drive to the nearest police station, open store, or service station for help. If you are fearful of exiting your vehicle, blow your horn to draw attention to yourself. If at anytime you feel like you are in danger, notify authorities immediately.
Fight Back – Don’t Be A Victim!