Though the campus security risks remain to be prominent, here are some feasible campus safety tips for university students, including the incoming freshmen and international students that you can take to reduce the campus security threats.
1. Utilize Locks/Locking Devices/Security Systems
The No.1 campus safety tip for university students like you is to always lock up doors and windows when you are away.
Simple as it sounds, the shocking fact is that almost 40% of university students don’t lock their dorm doors when they leave.
If locking up your doors is not enough to protect your valuables, you can purchase other locking devices such as a small safe or lockbox for your laptop to ensure your computer security.
Or if your roommates and you have electrical devices and personal belongings worth thousands of cedis in your room, you may consider installing a portable battery-powered security camera to ensure the room security after obtaining the consent of your dorm supervisor.
2. Take Advantage of Campus Safety Apps
During a campus safety and security survey, only 1 in 15 students from the University Of New Mexico had heard of the LoboGuardian app, which can be used by students to signal a preferred contact when they don’t make it to their destination at a set time, signifying a lack of utilization of campus safety resources.
Now many campuses support for the campus safety apps, like CampusSafe, EmergenSee, etc. You can use these apps to report minor incidents to campus police through texting forms or push the emergency button if you feel unsafe on campus, notifying campus police dispatch of your GPS location.
3. Know the Campus Security Programs Provided by Schools
Take full advantage of the campus security resources is a handy campus safety tip, especially for the university freshmen.
The best way to learn about your campus security programs is resorting to your campus security officers. Should you ever find yourself in trouble, it will be much easier if you know this information.
4. Don’t Let the Electronics Steal Your Attention to Your Surroundings
Most university students, perhaps including yourself, are often immersed in your smartphones or MP3 players while walking in the campus, not knowing what is going on around.
This could be a dangerous signal – the determined robbers may have noticed your absence of mind and regard you as the next target.
The moment you find yourself becoming unaware of the surroundings, it is the time for you to turn the music down, put your phone away and stay vigilant to what’s happening.
5. Be Familiar with the Campus Environment
This is one of the most useful campus safety tips for university incoming freshmen and international students, who might need some time to become accustomed to the new surroundings.
If such is also the case with you, spend some time with your friends walking around the campus to get familiar with campus landmarks and locate the emergency system areas, so that you can easily navigate your way around.
6. Avoid Walking Alone at Night
The Campus Climate Survey shows that 21% of undergraduate women have been sexually assaulted since entering university and 90.6% of university reported 0 rapes on campus. On average, sexual assaults are more likely to occur at night.
One important campus safety tip for female university students is to avoid walking alone at night. You can go with a friend late at night and walk on the designated pathways and well-lit areas.
If there is no companion, you can download a campus safe app and hold your thumb down on the safe button in case of any emergencies.
7. Be Careful Before Getting into a Car
For university students owning cars, this campus safety and security tip is especially useful and significant.
According to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), approximately 38,000 carjackings occur each year in the US and a weapon was used in 74% of carjacking occurrences.
So before you open the car door, look into the backseat to see if there is any uninvited. When it is dark at night, you can use a flashlight to illuminate under the car and the backseat.
Also, be wary of people asking for directions, handing out fliers, etc. If someone makes you feel uneasy, get in your car quickly and drive away.
8. Carry Defense Items with You
Having defence items at hand is one of the most practical personal safety tips for university students. The pepper spray, a taser, a whistle or other non-lethal weapons are all useful campus security suppliers you can put in your bag when you are out.
Never underestimate the function of these small items. They may make a life-saving difference in harmful situations. For example, in case that you are stalked by someone, you can use a whistle to call for help and seize the opportunity to run away.
9. Don’t Accept Substance from Strangers
Drug abuse is a conspicuous campus security issue on university campuses these days. One factor responsible for the high rates of drug abuse among your college students is that you are surrounded by other people experimenting with recreational and performance-enhancing drugs.
You should be aware that the powders, pills and liquids can be absolutely anything, in any concentration. Don’t accept any substance from casual acquaintances or strangers, otherwise, you may end up in addiction before you even realize it.
10. Protect Your Privacy on Social Media
While social media are convenient tools to share your updates with friends and family, they also allow strangers to have easy access to your profiles and know your whereabouts and plans.
So this is an unignorable university campus safety tip to protect your privacy when you post something online. Do remember to disable location services and keep your posts concerning your personal information private in avoidance that they fall into the wrong hands.
11. Tell Your Friends Your Whereabouts
Before you go to someplace on your own, tell your friends or family where you are going and the expected returning time. If you don’t appear by a certain time, they can try all methods to reach you. This on-campus safety tip for colleges can be of great help especially when you are in a risky situation.
12. Follow Your Intuition
Sometimes your intuition can be more than accurate. When you notice someone’ furtive manner in the dorm, don’t be afraid to report it to the dorm security guard. This safety tip for living on campus could eliminate many potential incidents.
And when you feel uncomfortable in a certain place, leave right away and go to an area with lights and people. Don’t hesitate to call the police for help if something seems abnormal.