Four Tips for College Student Safety
College campuses might make you feel safe and secure; however, students must realize that the potential for crime is inevitable no matter where you are. No one deserves to be the victim of a crime. Unfortunately, no matter what preventative actions we take, someone may still choose to victimize us. With some proactive thinking and preparation, you can lessen the chances of being a victim. From my personal experiences, I have gathered these top four top tips that will make an impact in your campus safety.
Maintain privacy on social media
It may sound contradicting: social media and privacy – you use social media to connect with the world! However, we should be careful about who we add as friends, especially someone we don’t know or have not met in person. Posting personal pictures and information about your life online can also be risky. Predators can track your life, find out about your habits, and learn about your lifestyle – which makes you a potential target. Make sure to check your privacy settings on social media and only add people who you have met in person.
Know where to go
When you are new to a place, always give yourself a good amount of time to learn about the area and places of interest to you. Your new classmates may tempt you into going to the nightclub downtown, but consider the environment and the surrounding areas. Is this where you will want to be after dark and out of your element? Will there be a group to travel with or will you be by yourself? Consider this before committing to the trip. It may be better to stay close to home than to end up in an uncomfortable situation.
Secure your belongings (lock, lock, lock)
The only place I trust is my mom’s home. When you are on your own at college, it is a totally new place for you. Securing your belongings should be a top priority for a less stressful life. You never know who is sitting next to you: always secure your valuables with a lock. For your digital items like thumb drives, laptop, and your phone, always remember to secure them with a passcode. It is very hard to trust people with your personal data like pictures and videos or study items. With cloud-based file sharing becoming more accessible, you can safely upload your files from any device, and most universities offer this service for free.
Learn how to defend yourself
It is never too late to learn how to protect yourself. Being able to defend yourself or a loved one is always a good idea. Many campuses offer information on this topic and there are plenty of online resources to use. Think about carrying pepper spray or learning basic self-defense tactics. Know where campus emergency phones are located. Never walk alone, especially late at night. Find out if your campus offers late-night security escorts.
College is one of the first opportunities for students to learn to live on our own. As the Spiderman movies say best, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Be a responsible student and learn how to keep yourself safe! These four tips have kept me safe so far, and plenty of other students out of harm’s way.