The first few weeks of college are often spent worrying about things like where your class is located, how to make new friends, and what to eat for dinner. But now that most students have settled into school, it's time to start thinking about 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 nine practical tips for campus safety 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. Use the campus shuttle service or bus service. Also, the shortcut home through an alley or an unlit area after studying may save time, but could also put your personal 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 likely 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 confidently, 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.
SHARE WITH SOMEONE YOU TRUST
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
Personal safety includes internet safety. 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 viewing access. Disable location services to avoid revealing where you are, and log out of your social media accounts when you're not using them 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. In our dorm room safety kit, you'll find MACE® pepper gel, with 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
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. With that in mind, keep your "personal safety Wi-Fi" on at all times:
- Don't accept rides from casual acquaintances.
- Go with a group, leave with the same group.
- Don't accept drinks from someone you don't know, and never let your drink out of your sight.
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 feeling confident goes a long way.
Another story you would enjoy: Situational Awareness - Why These Two Words Spell Out "Personal Safety (mace.com)