College Campus Safety


 When students head off to college, their safety is probably not foremost in their minds. But college campus safety is of great importance. Although nearly 98% of crimes committed on college campuses are related to theft, violent crimes are also a rising concern. College students armed with a basic awareness of the issue can significantly reduce their vulnerability to violent crime.

The following are 21 safety tips that parents and new college students can use to protect their personal safety on college campuses:

  • Get familiar with your surroundings as soon as possible. Colleges disclose information about violent crimes on campus. This information is usually available from the campus police department or safety office. Ask around to find out where the trouble spots are on campus and neighborhood. Many colleges offer basic training in safety techniques during new student orientation, take advantage of it.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Know where you are, where you are going and what is going on around you. Pay attention to people, events and potential exit routes.
  • Do not carry large sums of money.
  • Do not go to a bad neighborhood. If you do not know about the safety of a neighborhood, ask someone you trust before you go there. Reconsider walking or driving alone while in a potentially bad neighborhood especially at night.
  • Be prepared. Little details like a fully-charged cell phone, an extra house key, and emergency cab fare can really come in handy if things go wrong.
  • Travel as a group. If possible, travel with another person. This is especially true after dark.
  • Plan ahead and avoid activities at night as possible as you can. Whether your agenda includes a night out on the town or a long evening studying at the library, make a safety plan in advance. Mention your plan to your friends and let someone know if your plans change.
  • Do not go to ATM at night.
  • Travel on well-lighted and well-traveled streets at night. At night, avoid unlighted areas. Walk in them middle of the sidewalk and never loiter in deserted areas.
  • Act confident. Pay attention to everything around you, and stand or walk confidently like you know where you are going, even if you don’t. Walk with your head up. Look around. Notice everything. Always scan your immediate surroundings. In addition, keep your distance when walking past strangers on the street or in dark areas.
  • Be a moving target. Do not give an attacker time to plan an attack. When going somewhere, keep moving. If you are in a parking lot that is potentially unsafe, get in your car, lock the doors and leave.
  • Hide valuables. When walking in a bad neighborhood or at night, do not wear valuable jewelry. Keep your purse inside your coat or tucked close to your body. Do not carry a loose bag or backpack.
  • Walk on the side of the street nearest to oncoming traffic. If accosted by someone in a car, run in the direction opposite of the way the car is headed.
  • Be aware of people who approach asking for directions or the time of day. Keep a polite but safe distance.
  • If you are confronted with a dangerous situation, cry out for assistance. Yelling “FIRE! FIRE!” instead of “HELP!” will generally bring faster attention.
  • When leaving your dorm or apartment, make sure that all doors and windows are locked – including the main building entry and exits.
  • Keep an eye out for anyone who is loitering or hanging out around your home, campus, after school work. If you feel like someone is following you, go to the nearest occupied residence or building and ask for assistance.
  • When you get home, particularly after dark, do not hang around at the entrance of your residence. Make a quick check for mail and go in right away. If you feel something wrong, do not go in, go to a friend or neighbor’s house and call for police assistance.
  • Trust your intuition. If a house party or a dorm room study session starts to make you feel uncomfortable, pack up your stuff and get out of there. Your safety is more important than being polite.
  • Do not hesitate to call the police when you see something that does not seem right.
  • Make two copies of important papers, such as credit cards and ID cards. Place one copy in a safe place in your dorm room or apartment, and give the second copy to a parent or other trusted adult.