It's time to start organizing the dorm essentials list and get ready for the academic year. Most colleges will be "back to normal" in terms of in-person classes and labs. With this increased personal contact comes the need for personal safety preparation. Is your student ready? How can you empower your loved one? Got that first aid kit? Let us be your guide to staying safe on college campuses. We have a plan. Share these practical safety tips with your student, send him or her the link to this blog, then go over this safety information when it's a good time for both of you.
STAY IN GROUPS
There really is safety in numbers. Don't travel alone, especially at night or in an area of campus that doesn't have a lot of foot traffic. Become familiar with the campus shuttle service or bus service and use it. Also, the shortcut home through an alley or an unlit area after studying may save time, but could also put your safety at risk. If you find yourself alone, most colleges and universities have a complimentary escort service available. Someone to walk you home is usually just a quick call or text away.
BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Staying safe begins with knowing what's around you at all times. The more familiar you are with an area, the less you become a target. Criminals look for easy targets: someone who is pre-occupied, unsure, or generally unaware of who or what is around them. Keep your head up and walk with confidence, even if you're not sure of where you're going. College students walk, bike, skateboard, or even take scooters to class. Figure out the best routes. Take time to learn how to get from your dorm or apartment to your classes and other parts of campus. Make mental notes of where the blue light emergency phones are located.
BE CAMERA SHY
You certainly don't have to run from cameras, but don't let your picture appear with your dorm name, phone number, or any other identifying information get out there. Only you should decide who knows where you live, eat, and sleep.
WHAT TO SHARE
Make sure your close friends, you roommate, and your parents know what your daily schedule is normally like. Sure there will be changes along the way, but the more trusted people you share this information with, the easier it will be to get in touch with you in case of an emergency.
CONSIDER A PERSONAL SAFETY DEVICE
Empower yourself. A backpack is great for hauling your laptop and some snacks, and you can also throw in a personal alarm. The Mace® Brand personal alarms clip right onto a backpack or a set of keys, and come in bright, neon colors too. Mace® Personal Safety Alarm | Safety Alarm Keychains These personal alarms also have a built-in whistle, that can be used to call for help or alert those nearby of a medical condition if necessary.
BE SMART ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Use social media to your advantage. It's a great way to keep your family members up to date while you're on campus. But social media is also a big window into your habits and your movements. The last thing you want to do is give potential stalkers or scammers an easy way to take advantage of you.
Review the settings on your social media profiles and set your posts to private or limit the access. Disable location services to avoid revealing where you are, and don't stay logged into your social media accounts in case you lose your phone or laptop.
PACK A DORM ROOM SAFETY KIT
You can bundle just about everything these days, the same is true when it comes to personal protection. MACE® pepper gel is included in the dorm room safety kit, and this pepper gel has a built-in LED safety light, which makes it easy to use at night (see video). You'll also get a personal alarm, along with a stun gun. Your choice of pink or black for both. Dorm Room Safety Kit by Mace Brand
MOST ATTACKERS ARE SOMEONE YOU KNOW
We want to prepare you, not scare you. Young women in college are three times more likely than women in general to experience sexual violence. Ninety percent of campus sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows.
Personal safety starts with preparation. There is power in being prepared. Taking steps to protect yourself helps make college a more enjoyable experience. You know you're ready, and confidence goes a long way.
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