Before we talk about the campus safety tips, we will like to put forward a few words. And, we do believe that most of you will agree with what we have to say.
You most probably have come across the two words – Heaven and Hell. While these concepts are related to religious readings, you really do not need to travel to the end of your life to experience either.
We humans are incredible. We have given birth to an incredible concept called humanity and yet we do not adhere to that in most of the cases. It is our greed and our mind from where everything evil pops out.
We have made this world an incredibly unsafe place to live in and the worst part – it is not safe for students either. We have created hell on Earth because of our pride, greed and prejudices.
Remove us [humans] from the equation of Earth and life and this planet, you will see, is a self-sustaining heaven where animals take only what they need and they take it with hard work.
We humans, as a collective animal species can never be like them because of our intellect, because of our inherent need to project our supremacy in every possible way that spans over wealth, technology, religion and everything that is a product of human existence.
It is because of all our misdeeds that the onus of arranging for our own security also falls on us. Had we been less greedy, the story could have been totally different.
College and school campuses are no different from the harsh world outside. Only difference is that the extent of crimes that take place inside the college campuses is far less that what happens outside.
So generally speaking, college and school campuses are safer, but again, they aren’t totally alien to such crimes. While there are a wide variety of crimes that take place inside campuses, we will focus, in this article, on the campus safety tips that you need to know in order to keep yourself alienated and safe from such crimes.
After all, you did not join your college to pick crime as a career option. You have dreams and for that, you need to keep yourself safe. Thus, if you are willing to know the set of things you can do to stay safe in college campus, read on…
Campus Safety Tips – Some Surprising Data and Statistics
According to 2016 FBI Uniform Crime Report, there are some disturbing data of campus crimes that every student must be aware of. Here is a quick list that you will find interesting:
In total 76,380 campus crimes were reported in 2016.
1. Of all on-campus crimes, property crimes account for 95.5% of all crimes.
2. Violent crimes accounted for 4.1% of all crimes.
3. Arson accounted for 0.4% of all crimes.
In property crimes, FBI released the following data:
1. 88.8% of all property crimes were larceny thefts.
2. 8.9% were burglaries.
3. 2.3% were motor vehicle thefts.
In violent crimes, FBI released the following data:
1. 42.7% of violent crimes were aggravated assaults.
2. 22% of violent crimes were rapes.
3. 20.3% of violent crimes were robberies.
4. 0.1% of violent crimes were non-negligent manslaughter and murder.
5. 14.9% of violent crimes were other or unknown crimes.
Campus Shooting : Extremely Disturbing Data
1. Compared to the years 2001-02 to 2005-06, the period 2011-2015 saw as whopping 153% increase in campus shooting events.
2. Between 2011 and 2015, 101 shooting events took place.
[Study conducted by Citizens Crime Commission of New York City]
3. Between 2001-2002 and 2015-2016, total shooting events stood at 190.
4. Total 437 people were shot because of campus shooting incidents between 2001-02 and 2015-16.
5. Of the 437 people shot, 270 were wounded to various degrees while 167 people were killed.
6. Of all the 437 victims of these shooting incidents, 290 were students. 5 of them were former students. 40 of them were employees and 77 of them were not all associated with the colleges.
7. In total there were 12 states that experience either 5 or more than 5 shooting incidents on campus or near campus.
8. These 12 states collectively accounted for 64% of the total 190 shooting incidents that took place between 2001-02 and 2015-16.
9. Tennessee, California, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina and Florida topped the list among those 12 states.
Sexual Assaults: More Disturbing Data
According to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the following disturbing data has come out:
1. Rape or some form of sexual assault is experience by 11.2% of all the students.
2. These rapes or sexual assaults take place either by incapacitation, violence or physical force.
3. Both graduate and undergraduate students go through such sexual assaults or rapes.
4. Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of the students who face rape or sexual assaults are females.
5. Male undergraduate students make up 5.4% of the students’ pool who face rape or sexual assaults.
6. Sexual crimes on campus usually are not reported because the victims are afraid of retaliation.
7. Only 20% of all the female students who become victims of sexual crimes eventually come out and report such crimes.
8. These 20% that report the crimes are between the ages 18 and 24.
Campus Safety Tips: A List of 14 Tips
Okay, now that we have seen some disturbing data, it is about time to take a quick list of safety tips that you should always keep in mind. Are you ready? Let us begin…
Campus Safety Tips #1 : Use Locks and Other Security Devices
As you have learned, larceny and various other types of property crimes take the top spot in campus crime list, it is about time you take this seriously.
The best course of action is to lock the doors and windows of your dorm when you leave. It is simple! However, it has been reported that there are about 40% students who don’t do that! No doubt, larceny and property crimes are rampant.
You may have valuables like laptops, costly mobile devices and other stuff that take a fortune to buy. It is a good idea to invest in certain things like:
(a) Biometric or similar safety lock boxes and keep your valuables in those boxes. You can always buy them with a pool of money you collect from your pocket and your dorm mates (in case you have dorm mates).
(b) You may also consider purchasing battery-powered security cameras and install them in your dorm room. Albeit, you will need permission for that but the dorm supervisor usually provides the consent. Such security cameras can help your zero down on the perpetrator(s) in the event of a property crime.
(c) Buy advanced locks for your dorm door. Lock the door (as well as the windows) when you are leaving your dorm.
Campus Safety Tips #2: Peripheral Awareness
Often those who are not aware of their periphery are the victims of robberies.
It is nothing new to see students tucking in earphones hooked on to their smartphones or MP3 players. If you do that, it is very likely that you will be absent-minded because you will be immersed in some musical heaven.
Absent-minded students are far more prone to become victims of robbers because they are easy targets.
So, when you are walking in the campus, make sure that you are vigilant. The music can wait. It will stay in your device. Take those earphones off and stay aware of your surroundings.
Look around and try to find out whether someone is stalking you are observing your behavior closely.
Your peripheral awareness can help you to avoid becoming the victim of crimes.
Campus Safety Tips #3: Familiarize With Campus Security Programs
Campus security programs are there for a reason – your security. Take those programs seriously.
Familiarize yourself with those programs thoroughly. College campuses will usually have safety maps that will clearly lay out the safe routes that will help you avoid any kind of trouble.
Then there are Blue Light Emergency Phone Stations and campus escort services that you can always use should you ever find yourself in some form of trouble.
If you cannot find the relevant information, walk to the administrative department and ask for campus security officers. Identify them and talk to them.
They are good people and they are there to help you. They will walk you through all the security features provided by the college campus and you can keep their personal numbers as well (in case you ever need them).
Campus Safety Tips #4: Campus Safety Apps
In the world that is built on technology, you should always think of using technology to your advantage when it comes to campus security and safety and an assortment of various safety apps available for easy download and use.
Some popular safety apps include the names like Panik, Circle of 6, Shake 2 Alert, Watch Over Me, CampusSafe, EmergenSee.
All these apps are GPS enabled and when you use them, they can alert the campus police or people of your choice in ways like SMS, email etc.
The moment you activate and use them, they can quickly help the concerned people to dispatch help to your GPS location.
Certain apps will even activate audio and video on your phone after a certain act you perform with your phone and record the incident that has put you in peril.
Make use of these apps because they can be lifesaver. Don’t take them lightly. You never know when trouble comes seeking you.
Campus Safety Tips #5: Know Your Campus
Many students make this mistake. They do not familiarize themselves with the different areas of the campus thoroughly. If you are a fresher or if you are an international student, it is a wise idea to walk around with your friends in the campus.
Do the walking in broad daylight and find out the important places in the campus that you can approach immediately when in trouble. Do things like:
(a) Locate important landmarks.
(b) Learn the quick routes that you can take to reach to safe place.
(c) Locations of different emergency systems.
Basically, create a mindmap. You will find it extremely helpful. Do this again and again for days. Memorize the campus properly.
Campus Safety Tips #6: Carry Self-Defense Items
Be practical! Know that you are not above crime. You can become a victim anytime. There are preying eyes and they are not easy to locate.
They will pounce on you if they get a chance.
What should you do at that very moment? Engage in self-defense. There are some basic self-defense items that you can always carry. Some of them are:
(a) A whistle.
(b) A pepper spray.
(c) A taser.
(d) Striker flashlights that can emit up to 1000 lumens of light capable of temporarily blinding anyone without eye protection.
(e) A stun gun.
There are various other options that you can go for. All these options are non-lethal and they can help you bring down a perpetrator or give you ample time for a quick getaway.
Campus Safety Tips #7: Do Not Walk Alone at Night
Needless to say, sexual attacks and other types of crimes are most likely to happen at night. A survey by Campus Climate Survey has revealed that an astonishing 21% of undergraduate female students have faced sexual assaults after they have entered college.
Another study by the same source revealed that there were literally 0 (zero) rapes on campus. However, such incidents are not really uncommon outside campuses or in remote areas of campus where there aren’t a lot of people.
It is extremely important that students, especially female students avoid walking alone at night, especially outside the campus. You should avoid going alone at night unless very important.
When you go out, make sure that you have a companion with out. Also make sure that you are taking those pathways that are designated as safe and are perfectly well-lit.
In case you do not have a friend who can take a walk with you, make sure that you have some safety apps. For instance, you can use the app called SafeTrek. It was developed especially with college students in mind.
If you are alone somewhere and you are feeling that something is not right, fire up the app and hold down the safe button and walk. If you face some problem before you reach your destination, release the safe button and the local police station will be alerted immediately.
In case you reach your destination safely, simply enter the PIN after you remove your finger from the button.
Campus Safety Tips #8: Social Media Privacy
Did you know that the advent of social media has actually led to increase in crime rates?
There are sexual predators and other types of criminals who stock unsuspecting people, especially younger people like students.
In the veil of friendship, they try to get as much information about the possible victims and then utilize the same to commit crimes.
So, which social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. are very tempting, they are not the place where you actually go forward and share your private information.
Certain forms of private information that you should never share on social media platforms are:
(a) Your phone number.
(b) Your email ID (make sure that you use a fake email ID for your social accounts).
(c) Your trip records and destinations. Never share your trip itinerary on social media platforms.
(d) Your geo-tagged photographs. If you are sharing your photographs, do not geo-tag your photographs as they can easily give up your location.
(e) Never announce your time of leaving your home or college on social media platforms.
Make sure that even if you are posting such information, you are keeping your information private and accessibly only to your friends that you trust.
Campus Safety Tips #9: Avoid Carjacking With Some Vigilance
NCVS or National Crime Victimization Survey says that nearly 38,000 carjacking cases happen in USA every single year. Out of these, 74% of the carjacking cases are accomplished with some weapon.
So, here is a piece of advice. Never enter you car without looking into the backseat and the trunk. Never forget to check underneath you car.
In case it is dark, make sure that you are using a flashlight to illuminate inside and under your car to check whether there is someone uninvited in your car.
There are people who will use the veil of handing out flyers or asking direction and attempt carjacking. Be weary of those people too. Do not give lift to unknown people.
If you are uneasy about someone approaching you and your car, it is better that you get away quickly.
Campus Safety Tips #10: Don’t Take Things From Strangers
This is one of the commonest mistakes that students make in general. Drug abuse is one of the biggest problems in college campuses. There are a few things that happen because of drug abuse and they are:
(b) Sexual assault.
Students often take recreational drugs and even performance-enhancing drugs. These drugs can come in any format like pills, liquids, powders etc. These things can contain anything in any concentration.
They can make you senseless and a victim of anything like sexual assaults and thefts.
So, make sure that you are not accepting anything from strangers and casual acquaintances.
Becoming an addict or a victim of a crime can have far reaching consequences on your mental health and your education and hence, your career.
Campus Safety Tips #11: Inform Your Friends and Family About Your Whereabouts
This is a very important thing that you need to do. Whenever you are going anywhere, be it a party or hiking or a simple camping by the woods or anywhere else, call your friends and family who are not tagging along and inform them about the following:
(a) Your exact location.
(b) Details of all the people you are with (including their names and phone numbers).
(c) Tentative time of return.
(d) Details of the nearest police station where you are going.
Providing all these information to your family and friends will ensure that if you are in any threat, you can get aid quickly.
Campus Safety Tips #12: Your Intuition
Sometimes, you may just feel that something is not right or that someone is not right. This intuition, this sixth sense can sometimes be very accurate. However, they may not be true either.
True or false, make sure that you are informing the same to dorm security guard or dorm supervisor. If you are afraid that your sixth sense or intuition, request anonymity or send an anonymous letter to the concerned people.
Your intuition can prevent you or someone else from becoming a victim of a crime.
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Campus Safety Tips #13: Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol consumption is one of the commonest issues among college students. And like it or not, alcohol consumption actually increases the risk of following:
(a) Car accidents
(b) Sexual assault
So, avoid alcohol intake and if you cannot avoid such consumption in a social gathering, make sure that you limiting your alcohol intake. Ensure that you are in your senses and you are fully aware of your surroundings.
Alcohol can can be dangerous for girls because sexual predators can actually go ahead and slip in drugs in their alcohol. Drugged women are pretty prone to rape (even date rape) and other forms of sexual assaults.
Campus Safety Tips #14: Be Careful About Cab Services
Cab services like Lyft and Uber have changed the way students travel. However, they aren’t always safe. It is important that you keep the following safety tips in mind:
(a) Ensure that if you are about to board a cab from your campus, call the cab inside the campus.
(b) Make sure that you verify the ride. You need to make sure that you are matching the license plate, vehicle model, name of the driver etc.
(c) Make sure that the driver cross-confirms your name and the final destination.
(d) Share your ride details with your friends and family.
(e) Sit in the backseat and also carry and keep self-defense items.
(f) If you feel anything is wrong or if the driver is taking a different route, insist on staying on the suggested route shown in GPS. If the driver is not listening call 911 straightaway.
Campus Safety Tips: Quick Checklist You Should Follow
Now that you have learned about the tips, here is a quick checklist that you should follow:
1. Make sure that you are locking your room properly.
2. Make sure that you do not allow anyone into the residence hall if that person doesn’t have a student ID.
3. Sign up for emergency alerts of your campus. Then, save the emergency numbers in your phone.
4. Register your valuables like phone, tablet, laptops, bikes, etc. (that have serial numbers) with the campus police station.
5. Use safe rides and campus security escorts.
6. Travel in groups or in pairs through the campus or outside the campus. Never travel alone at night.
7. Get safety training and self-defense classes.
8. Discuss with your dorm mates and other friends and exchange the phone numbers. Also, exchange the phone numbers of your family members.
9. Buy and keep self-defense items with yourself all the time.
Safety is an important thing. Never take your safety lightly. Anything can happen at anytime. There is danger at every step. A few simple tips can keep you protected and prevent you from becoming a victim of a crime.