11 Ways You Can Stay Safe On (and off) Campus
For young men and women across the United States, means independence. A chance to break free from Mom and Dad’s rules and roam as you please. You can stay up all night, go where you please when you please, and take your own time with your own schedule. But what about college safety?
Of course, this new found freedom is liberating, but it is even more important to be safe than it is to be reckless. Sometimes once we flee the nest, we easily forget the advice we received on staying safe. Recently, a South Carolina college student got into a car mistaking it for an Uber. She was murdered and found in a field 90 miles from where she was picked up. Now more than ever, it is critical to stay safe on campus.
Whether you are a first-year University student or returning Sophomore keep these 11 tips in mind and stay safe on campus.
Tips when going out
1. Travel in groups
The #1 tip we stand by is to stick together. For ladies, there is a truth to safety in numbers. Make sure the entire night you know where your girlfriend is at the frat party, in the bar, or even at a game. No, you don’t need to mother your friends, but make a plan with your girls before going out.
2. Charge your phone
With videos, social media posting, photos, and selfies, you can drain your phone’s battery pretty fast. Make sure, if nothing else, your phone is fully charged before you go out. Another great option is to carry a portable charger for your phone, so you can give it a little juice in between your Instagram Stories.
Here are our favorite Amazon products:
3. Carry cash
One of the best spots to carry secret cash is behind your cell phone case. Sticking an extra $20 in your cell phone case is perfect in a worst-case scenario, you lose your wallet or can’t find your purse. An ATM is not always the safest place to stop after a late-night club session, so be smart and carry cash on you, whether it is in your cell phone case or on your body.
4. Download “Find My Friends” app and add your friends
Find My Friends is a safety app where you will be able to easily locate your friends with the click of a button. Find My Friends can be found in the iPhone Apps Store and Google Play. It does cost money to use, but run it by your folks, perhaps they will consider it a solid investment.
Read more about the pros and cons of this app on the DFNDR Blog
Tips when walking home
We know that you won’t always be traveling with your #GirlSquad when coming back from a party or even a late-night study session on campus, so we are sharing our top tips to stay safe when walking alone and sharing products to keep in your arsenal… just in case.
5. Just keep walking
Unfortunately, even on campus, there is a chance that you could be followed during the day or at night. If you are alone and don’t have anything to protect yourself like pepper spray or mace (see more below), your best bet is to JUST KEEP WALKING. If you find a building, restaurant, or bar that is open and you can walk in, you will find a temporary place to land and can seek help.
Another great tip is to keep your keys out or pretend to talk to a family member, boyfriend, friend, or better yet the police. If you are safely able to call 911, this should be the first number you call.
6. Carry Mace, Pepper Spray, or a personal alarm
Tie it to your backpack, clip it to your purse. Pepper spray, personal alarms, and whistles will temporarily ward off an attacker as soon as you trigger the device. We all know what pepper spray does, but personal alarms are new to the market.
Some of the best panic alarms are listed here, and the article goes through dorm security alarms, locks, sprays, alerts, and precautions you can take and carry safely anywhere on campus. Below are some of the most popular alerts and sprays you can Prime right to your dorm.
Tips when in your dorm
7. Always lock your door and windows
This seems like an obvious safety tip, but most break-ins from dorms happen when a door or window is open or unlocked. Just because you are in your building, doesn’t mean you are completely safe.
8. Purchase a dorm or apartment alarm kit
One of the highest rated alarm kits for dorms and apartments is from SABRE and this item is a practical and affordable way to keep yourself and your belongings safe inside your dorm. With three settings (off/alarm/chime) you can set an alert if a door or window opens. The device alerts as soon as pressure is applied.
Read more about SABRE and their security products here
9. Get to know your neighbors
Aside from socializing and having fun together, get to know who lives on your floor. The better you know and understand your peers, the easier it will be to spot something that is just not right, like someone unknown lurking the halls or a friend who is usually home at a certain time and hasn’t arrived back. Talk to your roommate about campus safety, what their schedule looks like, and offer to walk together when you can.
Tips for general safety
10. Learn about your University Campus Safety protocols
Every University has its own methods of Campus Safety, and it is your responsibility to find information about security measures taken on campus. Use these services, like calling for a ride late night or locating emergency phone stations before you step foot on campus. Pop into your campus security office and quickly get the down low on what they do to keep students safe and how you can take advantage of their services.
The following are questions you should ask:
- Where are Blue Light emergency phone stations located on campus?
- Does the university provide campus escort services?
- Where can I locate safety maps with suggested secure routes?
- Does our college have Campus Safety resources?
11. Be smart and plan ahead
Know your route when walking to and from classes, discuss plans for going out before you leave the dorm or off-campus housing, make sure you have all of your safety devices and phone charges, and of course, BE SMART! Make SURE your Uber is your Uber, do not get in the car with strangers, do not leave the party with a boy you don’t know (we don’t care if he looks like Liam Hemsworth, don’t do it!) and always keep in contact with your friends.
Listen, we know and understand you won’t always be sleeping in your dorm. If you are planning on staying out with a friend or…“Liam Hemsworth”, tell a trusted friend or your roommate and let them know where you will be. The more information you can give, the better.
Check-in, be responsible, and stay safe!