Safety on Campus is a reoccurring topic.  In the days of school shootings, sexual assaults, and viral fighting videos school safety has never been more of a concern.  When things go wrong and incidents occur, fingers are pointed and everyone wants to know who is responsible.  The truth is campus safety begins with each student.  Each student should be aware of their own safety and well as the safety of others.  One of the first things you should take note of is safety practices on campus.  Campuses across the country have emergency alert systems.  The system allows you to be contacted via text message and email in the event of an emergency.  You should also add campus security/police as a contact in your phone. Having this information readily available allows quick access in the time of emergency.  Another helpful resource campus’ are implementing is the anonymous texting system.  The system allows you to anonymously send message to campus safety officials about possible incidents.  This allows you to report issues, possible threats, or bring things to their attention to further investigate.

As you are navigating around campus, you should always travel with caution.  While on campus you become comfortable and assume everyone is your friend. Campuses are targeted every day, lurkers standing by observing, someone trying to find their next target.  That is why it is extremely important to pay close attention to your surroundings, only share personal information with those you trust, and report suspicious activity. After hours, when travelling on campus, be sure to travel in groups and never walk alone. Campuses offer escort services; providing an officer to assist you in getting from one place to another.

While out you should be very careful when mingling and partying with others.  You should never accept a drink from someone that you do not know. You should also not leave your drink unattended. Any time away from your drink or accepting a drink from someone you do not know could place you in danger. The same rule applies to taking any other food, candy, or medicine from someone you do not know. You may not be aware but drugs come in all shapes, sizes and flavors.  Drugs can be placed in food, look like candy, or appear to be medicine.  Consuming such items can cause you harm and ultimately death.  Additionally, if physical safety becomes a concern be sure to find the closest exit to safety.  Grabbing your phone to take video should not be your first concern.  You should grab your phone to contact campus safety or to report the incident.  Your actions could help determine how the situation ends.  Be sure to create a buddy system and always know where your buddy is located and what they are doing at all times.  When it is time to leave be sure you leave together and that you both arrive home safely.  Leaving a friend could result in tragedy; arriving together, staying together, and departing together should be your primary goals throughout the evening.

Campuses are relatively safe places to be.  However, there are people the target college students for their lack of caution, maturity, and street knowledge.  Be sure you are aware of your surroundings and know which resources are available to you. Having the knowledge before a situation occurs will help you when a situation actually unfolds. Throughout your college experience you want to be open, have fun, and have new experiences, but you also want to be safe and you are ultimately responsible for your safety.

Campus safety should be a concern of everyone; parents, administration, and most importantly you the students.  Safety is one thing that cannot be guaranteed.  The university and university housing department will take precautions and attempt to mitigate risks and hazards. It is also the responsibility of the student to make sure they are implementing safety practices into their daily routine.  Criminals prey on the innocence and naivety of students.  Being aware of your surrounds and familiarizing yourself with these safety tips below can help you avoid unsafe situations.

  1. Program the campus police phone number into your phone. Also, add the RA on-call phone number and the front desk phone number, so they are handy in the event of an emergency.
  2. Program 3-5 people in your phone as ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts.  In an emergency situation, someone can easily identify who to call if you need help.
  3. Report all suspicious persons, vehicles and activities to campus authorities. Many universities have emergency phones installed throughout campus, do not be afraid to use the phone in an emergency.
  4. Use the “buddy system” and watch out for your neighbors.
  5. Keep your doors locked, especially whenever you find yourself alone in a apartment/room.
  6. If you see someone being victimized, get involved and notify the police.
  7. Avoid traveling alone at night. Travel with a friend, walk with crowds, or request an escort from campus police.
  8. Walk on well-lit, regular traveled walks and pathways. Avoid shortcuts and keep away from shrubbery, bushes, alleyways, or any other areas where someone could be hiding.
  9. Avoid big open areas like the athletic fields and tennis courts after dark.
  10. Do not accept rides from casual acquaintances.
  11. When walking to your vehicle or residence, have your keys ready in hand.
  12. When being dropped off by taxi or private vehicle, ask the driver to wait until you get inside.
  13. When getting out of a car, take a look around to make sure that you are not being followed.
  14. If you think you are being followed, call for help, and run to safety.  Draw as much attention to yourself if possible, by enlisting the aid of a passerby, flag down a car, or pull a fire alarm.
  15. When walking at night, look up and look around, do not wear ear buds in both ears playing loud music, and walk as quickly as possible.