A student’s days at college often become some of their best memories later in life. Besides opening up a whole new world of learning, the years as an undergraduate or graduate student can bring new friends, help young adults learn new skills and ultimately have some fun.
In the second semester of an academic year, some of the novelty of campus life may have worn off. Still, for many students, this is the first time living away from home. Although they may think of campus as a bubble, they are still in a very real world. Campus police and security officers have redoubled their efforts in recent years to minimize assaults, thefts and burglaries, because campus crime is unfortunately still a very real threat.
Campus Safety Tips
Statistics show that although college crimes overall have been trending down during the past two decades, they still remain a problem. In addition to the horrible sexual assualt cases at some campuses, burglaries, thefts and other physical assaults are also an unfortunate possibility for college students.
Today, we recognize the federal Clery Act. This act is named after Jeanne Clery, who was tragically raped and murdered at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania in 1986, and requires universities to report major crimes like murder, sex offenses and aggravated assaults as well as burglary, vehicle theft and arson. In 2016, the latest year for which statistics are available, some 28,400 criminal incidents were reported at postsecondary schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This safety risk is a problem to be aware of and prepared for rather than simply afraid of, though this worry is understandable.
The college years should be a time for discovering new ideas and friends rather than living in fear. To help students get the most out of their education, SABRE offers these seven second-semester college safety tips. Using these methods, you can reduce your chances of becoming a crime victim as a college student.
1. Campus Safety Resources. As noted above, campus security and police forces have made great efforts in recent years to improve campus safety. Take advantage of the services they offer. Look for blue light emergency-call boxes so you know where to get help quickly in emergencies. Take advantage of campus services like free rides on campus shuttles. Whether walking on or off campus, try not to travel alone, especially at night.
2. Situational Awareness. Use all your senses to look for people or conditions that are out of the ordinary. Try to avoid contact with people in the street or on campus who are acting in odd ways. If you see someone in your dormitory you don’t think has a good reason to be there, contact your preceptor, resident assistant or someone else in charge. It may seem cliché, but it truly is always better to be safe than sorry.
3. Personal Safety Awareness Training. Students go to school to learn, so why not study how to stay safe? Skills learned in personal safety courses will benefit them throughout their lives. In fact, these courses may prove more valuable than some of the more esoteric academic classes available. Personal safety training is a great investment of time even for busy students. If you can’t find one on campus or in your town, ask campus security or police about a class.
4. Personal Safety Tools Like Alarms and Pepper Spray. Personal safety devices for college students help them feel more confident and empower them to take self-protection into their own hands. A personal alarm provides simple, affordable protection. These compact alarms can be worn or carried in a pocket or purse. When activated, they let out a shrill sound that can scare off attackers while summoning help. Pepper spray can fend off assailants and give students time to escape from threats and attacks and get help.
5. Lock Doors. Unfortunately, many college towns have high rates of petty thefts, including bicycle thefts. Whether living on campus or off campus, students should always lock their doors, whether they are at home or not. Locking the door, even when just going down the dorm hall to chat with friends, will help prevent thefts and intruders.
6. Dorm Room Alarms.Standalone alarms are a great idea for dormitory rooms. Inexpensive and easy to install, they can be placed on a door or window. They can scare away intruders and also warn students inside that someone is trying to break into their room.
7. Wireless Alarms. Students living with roommates off-campus or in sororities or fraternities may want to consider wireless alarm systems. Ideal for houses and larger buildings, these systems include sensors that can be strategically placed on doors, in windows and in rooms and even outside in places such as carports. They can be operated and monitored from a central station.
College combo kits can get students off to a good start with the basic protection they need. These kits typically include pepper sprays as well as dorm and personal alarms. They offer an easy and affordable way to help guard student lives and property.
We hope these personal safety tips for college students will help provide a safe, happy and stress-free college semester and a successful college experience. If you have any questions, feel free to call or email the friendly staff here at SABRE.
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