Easy and Affordable Ways to Stay Safe on Campus
There are many easy and affordable ways for students to stay safe on campus when they finally go away to college. Here are a few things to consider in order to remain secure and aware of your surroundings.
Affordable Ways to Remain Safe on Campus
When you live away from home, you'll find that life is much different from what you're used to. You're likely to spend plenty of time alone on campus, and while you may think you're tough enough to beat off an attacker, pride can get you into some pretty scary situations. So how can you stay safe cheaply on campus?
Keep Your Doors Locked
This is the number one safety tip, and it is absolutely free. At all times, keep your doors locked. Many dorms have an open-door policy where students keep their doors open for a communal feel. This only exposes your room to strangers and looters. Even if the main door on your dorm is always locked, you don't know who other students will bring in. If you keep your door shut but unlocked, someone could even come in unannounced and lock you in with them.
Stick to Walkways
The lights on campus and the paved walkways are freely available. Why not use them? If you stay on the paths to walk from building to building, you'll be visible to everyone. This may sound like a bad idea, but consider the alternative. If no one can see you and you're assaulted, no one will see it. If someone threatening sees you walking through the bright campus, he or she will be less likely to attack for fear of being seen. Better yet, if you have no choice but to be alone, call campus security for a ride.
Buy a Whistle
Whistles are ridiculously cheap. Plastic ones can be found at party stores and metal ones can be found at sporting goods stores. You can even find them in different colors, so you can choose school colors if you prefer. Select a whistle that can hang from your neck. This way if you get lost or you are attacked, you won't have to fumble through pockets or a backpack to find it. Anything that draws attention to you will surely keep thugs at bay.
The Buddy System
The most dangerous part of being out on campus at night is being alone. If you're leaving the dining hall, try to leave with a group of people. No one will mug someone who is in a cluster - again, attackers don't want to be seen! Try pairing up with a friend from class or your dorm. Explain that you're nervous walking alone back to your dorm. It's likely that you aren't alone in your fears, so you may get an ecstatic yes. If you're new to campus and haven't made any friends, this is a great opportunity to make some.
When you think of dangers, you likely think of being mugged or raped. A danger that may not spring to mind is the danger of being hit by a car. No matter the time of year, visibility on a dark campus can be bad (and it's worse in snow or rain). If you wear dark clothing, you'll be difficult to see from the inside of a car. Buy some reflective clothing or tape to add shimmer to your outfit. When headlights hit you, you'll light up like a neon sign.
Okay, this may seem like a strange way to stay safe for cheap, but it's true. Drinking costs money - a lot of it - and when you drink, your reflexes and judgment are impaired. It is easier for you to be attacked, you'll be less able to fight an attacker off, and you're more likely to put yourself in unsafe situations. You may choose to go home with a guy who seemed nice or you may think it's okay to get behind the wheel and drive. Both of these choices can lead to extremely dangerous situations. In fact, according to statistics listed by Brown University, 90% of rapes on campus have been linked to drinking.
Let Others Know Where You Are
There's a reason why your parents always wanted to know where you were and who you were with - that way if something goes wrong, they have a place to start from. This is a morbid thought, but in college you're exposed to many new people and experiences. If you have a date, tell your friends who you're going out with and where you'll go. They may have knowledge about your date and can warn you to avoid an uncomfortable, or even dangerous, situation. If you're going to the library, tell your dorm mate. That way, if you never come back, they can tell security where you said you'd be. It could save your life.
Keep an Eye on Equipment
Never, ever leave your laptop or cell phone sitting out at the library or dining hall. You're living in a place where people learn how to do amazing things to computers (like hacking). Why not just leave your social security card and cash on the table? Not only could your stuff get stolen when it's unsupervised, but strangers could get information from your laptop. Some students are even desperate enough to steal your term paper and turn it in before you do. Who do you think your teacher would believe?
Whistles and reflective tape? Now see which products you don't really need on campus.