Colleges want to make sure their students are kept safe. In fact, federal law requires all colleges to create a campus safety plan. Unfortunately, no matter how many safety precautions a college puts in place, there is always potential for on-campus crime to occur.
While these crimes can’t always be prevented in every situation, there are some important things you can do to minimize your risks of becoming a victim. The key to staying safe on campus is to be prepared.
Here are several actionable tasks students can take to maximize campus safety during their college experience:
1. Download safety apps
If your college offers an emergency alert app, take the time to download it to your phone. These apps work by sending real-time text notifications from campus safety or police officers to your phone as a crime unfolds. By using the information about what kind of crime is occurring and where, you can avoid the situation and stay safe.
There are also many third-party safety apps tailored to college students. One popular app is Circle of 6, a free app that college students can use to create a group of six emergency contacts. If you feel you might be in a dangerous situation, you can use the app to alert your “circle” of your location.
Other commonly used safety apps for college students include Guardly, bsafe, Pan!cGuard, and OnWatchOnCampus. Make sure you keep your phone properly charged at all times so you can use these apps if you need to.
2. Add emergency numbers to your phone
Before you head to campus for your move-in date at the end of the summer, go online to your college’s website and look for its page on campus safety. This page should list all of the key emergency numbers you can use if you find yourself in an unsafe situation on campus.
Add these numbers to your phone, and consider placing the number for campus police on speed-dial. Also consider writing down these numbers on a piece of paper and putting it in a prominent place in your dorm room—it can never hurt to have extra copies of these numbers!
3. Use the buddy system
It’s true that there is power in numbers: Statistically, you’re much less likely to fall victim to a crime if you travel in groups rather than going solo. Whether you’re going for a run early in the morning or a campus event late at night, buddying up can help you avoid unsafe situations.
4. Know where your campus’ emergency stations are
Many college campuses have emergency phone stations placed at various locations across campus. You can walk up to these stations 24 hours a day and get connected with the campus safety office, which will dispatch a campus police or safety officer to your location. Before you arrive for your move-in day, familiarize yourself with your campus by looking at a map and take a mental note of where these emergency stations are located. Consider even highlighting where these stations are and keeping a copy of the map with you in your backpack, purse, shoulder bag, etc.
The college experience is an invaluable opportunity for academic breakthroughs, personal growth, and so much more. Ensure you are able to enjoy it to the fullest by practicing these smart measures to maximize campus safety.
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