When you think about college, it’s typical to think of all the positive experiences and encounters you will have as a student. Whether it’s getting excited about your major, dorm life, making new friends, and gaining independence, most college students are ready for all the new adventures college has to offer. Unfortunately, campus crime becomes a part of the conversation too. Crimes such as burglary, sexual assault, hazing, and theft are some of the most common crimes that occur on or near college campuses. Here are ways to minimize the chances of being a victim of campus crime and what to do if it does happen to you.
Protect valuable items.
- If you have jewelry, designer clothes, shoes, or other items that may put a target on your for thieves, consider leaving those items at home.
- Look into buying a renters insurance policy to protect the stuff you do decide to bring with you to campus, such as your backpack and laptop.
- Be mindful of who you invite over. Make sure valuables are hidden or locked away safely.
- Take pictures of your stuff in case you do become a victim of theft or malicious damage. That will help you file a claim for reimbursement through your renters insurance policy.
Travel in pairs or groups with people that you know.
- Use the buddy system when attending an event or a party. This is especially important if you’re a young woman who may be at greater risk.
- Share your location with friends and let someone know when you plan to return.
- Never leave someone alone in a vulnerable or uncomfortable situation. If necessary, leave as a group and make other plans instead.
Be smart on social media.
- Don’t share when you’re away from your dorm or residence hall.
- Avoid geotagging and sharing your location on photos, videos, and other posts that would reveal your current location.
- Think twice about sharing any sensitive information online, including any revealing details about where you live or work.
Have a plan.
- When going out, especially at night, let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to return.
- Walk with confidence, and avoid looking confused even if you’re going somewhere you haven’t been before.
- Don’t use headphones or keep your head down looking at your phone when you’re walking.
- Download safety apps to turn your phone into a pocket-sized security guard.
From making new friends to becoming independent, there are a lot of positive things to look forward to as a new college student. Overall, it should be fun. Bt with this comes the responsibility of staying as safe. Sometimes college students think campus is one big protective bubble. But that’s not always the case, unfortunately. Remember these tips for staying safe!