Hundreds of thousands of young adults have headed back to campus by now and if one of them is yours, you are undoubtedly worried. You wonder if they will get good grades, if they will make new friends and if they will be able to balance a social life with their school life. Chances are you also wonder if they will be safe.
Crime on campus has declined over the past several years, but staying safe at college remains a top concern among students and their families. Property crimes outweigh personal, violent crimes, but common sense is still a priority. Knowing how to teach your child to be safe on campus will go a long way in easing some of the anxiety you are both feeling.
Accidents happen and no amount of preparation can prevent all injury or loss, but there are several things that a young person can do to help ensure they don’t become a victim of crime. Share these tips with your child the next time you are lucky enough to get a phone call.
Most people move through the world feeling safe. Their possessions are their own, and they don’t consider that someone could come along and take them. Why not leave your laptop on the library table while you go and look for another book? You shouldn’t have to make sure your backpack is over your shoulders even though you aren’t leaving the immediate area.
The truth is that there is always someone willing to take advantage of someone else. Instead of assuming that no one would dare take something that belongs to you, assume that everyone would. If you don’t want it taken, make sure that it is with you.
If it can be locked, lock it. Lock your doors, your windows and even your phone. Lock up your bicycle if you ride it across campus or into town. Keep your car locked even if you can see it from your apartment window.
It’s always safer to walk with a friend than to walk by yourself, even during the day. Recruit a buddy to walk with your from class to class or wherever it is that you are going. If you live in a dorm, chances are that at least one person living in the same building shares a class with you. Find that person and make them your friend.
If you absolutely cannot find a buddy to walk with at night, make use of campus police or security. Most campuses have programs that allow students to call up and find a person to walk through campus with. Never be too embarrassed or proud to call campus security. They are on the job to protect you; let them do so.
Keep your phone charged and with you at all times. You never know when you will need to call for help, and a dead phone isn’t going to get in touch with anyone. A good habit to get into is to charge and carry a small power pack. These tiny devices act as mobile charging stations for the person on the go. If your phone is warning you that it’s going to run out of juice soon, simply plug it into your power pack.
The typical person walks with their head down, eyes looking at the ground. It’s a great way to avoid making eye contact or looking like you are inviting conversation. Unfortunately, it’s also a great way to become a victim. Keep your head up, walk with purpose and stay aware of your surroundings. People who appear alert are less likely to be targeted by criminals.
Let someone know where you are going if you leave your dorm room or apartment. Even if you are just going to class, it is a good idea to tell a friend. To come looking for you, someone has to realize that you aren’t where you are supposed to be. This may not happen if you never tell people where you are going.
College doesn’t have to be a dangerous place if you use a bit of common sense. You don’t want to go through the world thinking everyone is out to get you, but you shouldn’t assume that everyone is your friend. Strike a balance between the two to keep yourself safe.
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