College is supposed to be a time when you can expand your horizons, deepen your knowledge, and develop lifelong friendships. Unfortunately, with so many young people living and interacting so closely together, it can also be a breeding ground for crime—some petty, some truly dangerous.
Whether you’re a current student or headed off to campus this fall, here are some important tips for staying safe at school.
1. Know your environment.
Don’t skip that new student tour! Understanding your surroundings and developing good situational awareness is critical for staying safe. Know your routes around campus, as well as alternatives in case something about your usual path doesn’t seem right.
Where are the well-lit common areas? What spaces seem to be darker and less populated? Where is campus security? Where are public telephones? If you spend much time off campus, this also goes for the other neighborhoods you frequent.
2. Keep track of your friends.
When you were living at home, your parents probably kept track of your comings and goings. They knew when you were at school, when you had choir rehearsal, and when you were just hanging out with friends. If they didn’t always know exactly what those friends were up to at the time … well, that’s part of growing up.
But now that you’re an adult, it’s up to you to keep track of each other. Trade schedules. Send a text if you’re heading out for pizza or holing up in the library to work on a paper. If somebody doesn’t show up for dinner, are they sick, missing, injured, or just stuck re-doing a lab report? Be responsible for each other.
3. Remember to lock your door.
Theft isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of lurking dangers, but it’s the most common crime on college campuses. In dormitories where there may be a culture of people wandering into one another’s rooms on a regular basis, valuables and electronics have a habit of walking off.
Yes, it’s a hassle to carry your key with you when you’re just heading down the hall to shower, but it’s much less hassle than having to replace your laptop or phone.
4. Go easy on the alcohol.
Yes, there’s an excellent chance that you’ll run into opportunities to imbibe at some point in your college career. If you choose to drink, do so responsibly. Drinking heavily doesn’t only impede your ability to make sound decisions, it also puts you at risk for injury as well as alcohol poisoning.
Here are some sobering stats. Every year in the United States:
- Over 1,800 college students die of alcohol-related injuries.
- 696,000 students are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
- 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
Keeping any drinking to a moderate level, looking out for friends who have had too much to drink, guarding your drink vigilantly, and always having a trusted designated driver (or even a designated walk-you-home-er) can help keep some of these dangers at bay.
5. Take advantage of safety apps.
This isn’t your parents’ campus security. Apps like Torch enable two-way communication about crime and safety issues. So not only can you anonymously report something suspicious going on, but you can get alerts about things that are happening around campus.
Students don’t have to rely on tomorrow’s police blotter to find out there was an incident just around the corner that could have put them in danger.
College is an opportunity like no other.
So don’t let someone else ruin it for you with their bad intentions. Torch can help. Download Torch today and help keep your campus safe.