In the past five to ten years, most college campuses have instituted stricter security policies and protection for their students and faculty.
Knowing your school security policies, where to find the security officers on campus, and if you have ‘blue light’ boxes around the campus where you can call in an emergency are just a few of the ways you can protect yourself. Become familiar with the policies and the risks that may exist on even the most secure and protected college campuses. The handbooks do not exist to frighten you.
They exist to educate you so that you know what to do in case of an emergency and you know how to protect yourself.
Depending on the city, town or community from which you came, your life may have been buffered by home, family and friends and you may never have considered that you were exposed to danger. But in most communities today, these safe havens are fewer and farther between. There is hardly a place in this or any other country where you are completely safe and as a college age student it is time to become independent and take responsibility for your safety and security and ask your friends to take the same measures to protect themselves.
Never loan your student ‘swipe card’ to someone else even if it is another student. Your dorm is locked for a reason and that is to protect you. Always report suspicious characters or activities on campus. If you are alone, never walk around your campus or the surrounding community late at night. You are asking for trouble. If you are coming home late from the library or another activity and your campus is not closed, ask a security person to escort you to your dorm.
Do not loan parking passes or other student ID to anyone who isn’t a student on your campus or even to other students unless you know them well and have known them for a long time. Even then, giving access to these students if you don’t know them well enough to trust them.
Carry a device that makes noise, lights up or sprays toxic mist and use it if someone approaches you and seems to mean you harm. Do not wait to ask questions. If someone is following you, use your swipe card to gain access to a public building where there is plenty of light and tell someone that you are being followed.
At night, you should walk on brightly paths and roads on the campus. Always tell your friends where you are going and when you will be back and don’t take unreasonable risks by going out to clubs or events with strangers or people you do not know well.
Ask your campus security office to provide you with a list of crimes and security violations so you know how much risk exists on your campus but even if your campus seems pristine and safe, do not trust that it will always be so.
Lock your residence doors and windows. If your school publishes student information the school intranet be sure it is limited to only what others should know about you. Avoid very personal facts or information and whenever you are contacted in person, in class or by phone or email by someone you don’t know, ask how they know you and who gave you’re your contact information. Be suspicious of anyone who seems evasive or who cannot answer these questions to your satisfaction.
If you are assaulted, REPORT IT to the police and to your campus security. You may be embarrassed, but your report may mean that someone else will not suffer the same fate. Get counseling and help to overcome the after effects of that assault.
Be safe, be well and enjoy school!