If you’re planning to head out to your college campus for summer school this year, safety should be one of your top priorities besides getting good grades and all the credits you need for the next semester!
College campuses are not exactly the safest ground in the world. It is widely known that even America’s safest college towns experience some forms of crime, including burglaries, thefts, or assaults.
While safety is a priority for most colleges, there are several additional ways you can improve your own safety and keep your belongings secure. Before heading off to college, review these five safety tips.
Familiarize yourself with your school’s Campus Safety office.
Every school has a Campus Safety or security office, and part of your tuition funds it. Make the most of this resource by utilizing its services. Your college’s website likely provides information like office hours and phone number, but you can also visit in person when you arrive on campus.
Call or visit the Campus Safety office and request information about their programs. Find out if your campus has the following services and how you can take advantage of them:
- Blue light emergency phone stations
- Campus escort services
- Safety maps with suggested secure routes
- Support for a safety app like Campus Safe
Take extra precaution at night.
On average, sexual assaults and other crimes are more likely to occur at night. And while you shouldn’t scare yourself into assuming danger is around every corner, you also shouldn’t take unnecessary risks, such as walking alone at night. Instead, use the buddy system or call campus security for a ride.
Can’t avoid walking alone or heading to an unfamiliar location? Download a personal safety app, such as SafeTrek, which was developed for college students. When you walk alone, launch the app and hold your thumb down on the safe button. Once you’re safe, release your thumb and enter your pin. If you need help or are in danger, releasing the button without entering your pin will notify local police of your location.
Maintain privacy on social media.
Social media is a great platform for connecting with friends and family worldwide or sharing updates about your life. However, with everything you post, stay aware of who else could be viewing your profile. Avoid geotagging your photos, as it reveals your location to strangers, and don’t publicly announce when you’re home alone or are leaving your home unattended.
Review the settings on each of your social media profiles. Disable location services, make your accounts private, and think twice before sharing anything. Remember: once something gets posted on the Internet, it’s tough to remove it entirely.
Learn how to defend yourself.
There’s nothing more empowering than knowing how to protect yourself physically. You’ll feel safer and more confident, especially if you live or travel alone. You don’t need a black belt in karate to master self-defense; all you need are a few classes and tips from a professional instructor. There are several types and styles of classes from which to choose, depending on your interests.
Sign up for a self-defense class in your area, such as Krav Maga or jiujitsu. These classes are often available at colleges and gyms. If you’re feeling shy or nervous, ask a few friends to take the class with you.
Know where you’re going.
Whenever you set out to town or class, make sure you know where you’re heading and how to get there. Walk with confidence and avoid looking confused, even when you’re trying to navigate a new location. If you’re in an unfamiliar area, don’t use headphones or let your phone distract you, and focus on finding your destination.
Download your campus map onto your phone and use your GPS to find popular, highly trafficked routes to get to your destination. Apps like Campus Maps can also help you find your way around your school campus. Always try to avoid walking along deserted paths, and when in doubt, stick to the routes with which you’re most familiar — even if they take a little longer.