College Campus Safety
As many of our teens head off to college, we may be feeling nervous about their safety. It’s a good idea to pay attention to your college’s safety records and policies. Today’s blog will provide the latest campus safety information and tips to give your teen for staying safe while at school.
College Campus Safety Facts
The good news is that, as a whole, on-campus crimes have declined significantly over the last decade. For example, total on-campus criminal offenses declined from 56,438 cases in 2007 to 38,100 cases in 2017. And, over the last four years, the number of cases of burglary and assault have declined. The only on-campus crime that has seen an increase is rape.
The Clery Act requires the U.S. Department of Education to collect and disseminate campus crime statistics. As a result, they have placed a tool online to find safety statistics about specific schools. You can view it here: Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool
When students are choosing a school, you should consider the types of crime on campus, how common they are, and what steps the school has taken to address the problem.
Tips for Students to Stay Safe on Campus
Parents should give their teens these tips when they head off to college:
Know campus safety services. Students should familiarize themselves with the safety services their college offers. Many colleges provide escorts who walk students back to their dorm at night and transportation options directly to student housing. Most schools also have emergency call boxes scattered across the campus that give direct access to campus security. Additionally, some colleges offer security maps that show more secure routes to various places on campus, so that you stay on well lit, and frequently patrolled, walkways.
Avoid walking alone at night. It can be tempting to go for a run alone, or make a quick trip to the library by yourself after dark, but it’s not worth the risk. Statistically, crimes occur more often at night, so don’t take unnecessary risks, such as walking alone at night. Students should either walk in groups, with a buddy, or call campus security for a ride or escort. Use the buddy system when using Uber and Lyft, too. Another option if students have to walk alone is a personal safety app, such as SafeTrek. When you launch this app, you hold your thumb down on the safe button. Once you’re safe, release your thumb and enter your pin. If you need help or are in danger, releasing the button without entering your pin will notify local police of your location.
Always lock your room and valuables. The best way to avoid burglary is to lock up! Don’t leave your dorm or apartment without locking the door. You should always lock your car and/or bike. Keep your valuables in drawers. You can also consider purchasing a small safe for your laptop or other important valuables while you’re away from your room. You might want to register any valuables with serial numbers (electronics, bikes, etc.) with the campus police department, which makes them easier to track if they’re stolen.
Verify identity. It’s important that students follow their college’s security procedures, which includes not allowing anyone who doesn’t have a student ID into dorms or other college buildings. They may ask nicely and look presentable, but if they don’t have a student ID, they should not be in those buildings. Don’t feel bad for following safety precautions.
Sign up for campus emergency alerts. Every college has a mass notification system designed to deliver important safety information to all students via their cell phone in the case of a campus-wide emergency.
Be careful what you post. While social media is a great way to stay connected with family and friends, it can also reveal a lot of information about you. Avoid geotagging your photos, or “checking in” to locations, and never announce when you are home alone.
Take a self-defense class. Sign up for a self-defense class in your area. Many colleges offer these classes on campus, but you can also check with local gyms, YMCA, and police departments. These classes teach simple techniques to avoid risk and to help you escape in the event of an attack.
Know where you’re going. When you are headed to a class or into town, make sure you know your route so that you don’t look lost or confused. Always walk with confidence in well-trafficked areas.
Party safely. Every college student attends at least a few parties, so make sure you know a few important rules to keep yourself safe. Always attend a party with a group of friends. If you all go in together and leave together, you can make sure that everyone has fun and gets home safe. Never accept a ride from a casual acquaintance or stranger. While it can be tempting to accept when inebriated, it puts you in a very compromising position. Finally, watch your drink. GHB and Rohypnol, the two most popular date rape drugs are odorless, tasteless and colorless, meaning anyone can easily slip them in your drink. Never leave your drink unattended and never accept a drink from someone you don’t know.
Most college campuses are very safe, but if your teen follows the safety tips above, they will have an even better chance of having a great college career!