College students in California are returning to their dorms and classrooms for another academic year, and most of their attention will be focused on friendships, new courses, football games and parties. But while campus life can be exciting and eventful, it's also necessary to keep in mind the need for a safe environment. Amidst the bustle of this activity, unfortunately, universities can be subject to security risks that pose a threat to the well-being of the campus community. Crimes ranging from theft to sexual assault and even murder are a real phenomenon even in the halls of higher education - the greater awareness we have, the better we can anticipate and prevent potentially dangerous situations.
What should college students know to keep themselves and their property safe? Let's address a few common sense points. Remember, forewarned is forearmed.
- Know the lay of the land. Keep tabs on crime in the neighborhood and possible levels of danger in certain areas. Also know where your campus safety office is - have their number in your cell phone just in case.
- Don't walk alone at night. Get a friend to go with you to the library or another location. Always use well-lit pathways. If you're alone and have to walk somewhere possibly unsafe, call campus security so they can escort you.
- Lock your doors and windows. Lock the door to your dorm room or when you're gone, and even when you're sleeping. Burglars love to take advantage of students gone at class in order to enter their dorms and steal their belongings. Rapists will look for unsecured premises to commit their attacks. It's not necessary to be paranoid, but simply follow these best practices.
- Use the campus escort service. Trust your instincts for safety and use the helpful services your campus provides. It's not embarrassing; after all, riding with an escort is better than becoming the victim of another crime.
- Let your friends know where you are. Sharing this information increases your safety and enables your friends to locate you quicker should the need arise.
- Be careful getting into your car. Criminals have been known to hide in the backseats of cars in order to carry our robbery or sexual assault. Keep a sharp eye out for potential threats in the parking lot and check around your car and back seat before entering the vehicle.
- Practice situational awareness. Know what's happening in your surroundings. Pay attention to out-of-place people, threatening body language and possible surveillance or preparation for committing a crime. Be alert while walking around rather than absorbed in your smartphone - this makes you a harder target.
- Take a self-defense class. It's never a bad idea to take a martial arts class. The more practice you have, the more effective your response will be to any potential threat.
Source: The Safewise Report