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College Caution: Staying Safe on Campus

College students can help prevent themselves from getting into dangerous situations on and off campus.

Credit: Shutterstock/tawanroong

Safety is always a concern, especially on college campuses. There are things that students and young adults alike can do to keep themselves and the people around them safe.

College is when a young adult will have more time and responsibilities for themselves. Having extra precautions both around and off campus will never hurt.

Campus safety is everyone’s responsibility. There are, of course, ways to avoid dangerous or unwanted situations and outcomes. Here are some tips and tricks on how a college student can help prevent dangerous situations.

College services

A sunny day, focused on a blue box with Help Phone written on the box.
Credit: Shutterstock/Adam Calaitzis

Every college or university has some safety precautions set into place, such as bright blue poles with a button. When pressed, it alerts law enforcers of an emergency. There are other resources given by the college, such as different apps to help send out different emergencies to the public and keep in touch with a larger student body, like LiveSafe.

The LiveSafe app is somewhat like an amber alert, which would send out a message to a large group of people. It’s an alert for emergencies that keeps everyone updated on the current status.

Mostly everyone has received an amber alert at some point in time. They’re usually serious (though not always) alerts regarding the status of missing or abducted persons, sent to every phone within a certain radius of the crime. Anyone with a phone will get amber alerts or emergency broadcasts for all sorts of issues.

These apps and amber alerts keep the public informed and notified of what is happening. There are resources given for free to students, such as:

  • Security esscorts
  • Health centers
  • Psychological services
  • Sexual assault services

Of course, 911 or calling law enforcement is always an option when in need of help.

Stay alert and be secure

A young man in a gray suit with a pair of binoculars being held up to his eyes.
Credit: Shutterstock/unpict

Being alert to your surroundings and where you are is very important. For example, if you are walking alone, only wear your headphones over one ear. Pay attention to suspicious activity when out and about, which will help you avoid unwanted situations.

When you are walking around, make sure you keep track of your personal belongings and make sure they are secure with you. These things can include:

  • Phone
  • Laptop
  • Wallet
  • Backpack
  • Water bottle

When it comes to the place you are living, on or off campus. Make sure doors and windows are closed and locked. Make sure your living space looks occupied when you’re not there, especially when people can look into your living space and see what is happening inside.

Have a plan

A young woman, standing in front of a gray-white background, thinking. With illustrations above her with different draws in white.
Credit: Shutterstock/ESB Professional

When going out, always have a plan. For example, when you are going out to a party, have friends and people you trust go with you. When you and your friends are at this party, don’t leave each other. Only leave when everyone you come with leaves.

Always have a plan in place for any situation. What are you going to do when going to a party? Even with bus stops and on the bus. Are you going to sit by the driver or way in the back? Try to come up with a game plan for most situations that you may come across in your daily life as a busy college student.

When you’re out, keep your drink protected and don’t leave it unattended. Knowing your limits, not just in regards to drinking. Be responsible when and if you decide to drink, especially in a public area.

Trust your gut

A notepad that states, "Trust your gut" on it, with some office supplies surrounding the pad.
Credit: Shutterstock/valiantsin suprunovich

Trust what your body and mind are saying to you. If a situation happens that your gut says to get out of it, then trust that feeling. Talking about the feeling in your gut, your instincts. Even if nothing happens, trust it, and walk away.

If you are walking home alone at night and you get a weird feeling, text a friend or loved one. Let someone track your location when getting to your destination.

An app such as Life360 is a great tool. It allows a group of people to track each other’s location at any given point. You can use an app like Life360 to your advantage, especially when your gut feeling is saying something is wrong. You can always have someone else that you can trust to know your location. Other apps include:

  • Family Locator
  • Find My Friends
  • iSharing
  • Family360
  • FamiSafe

If you are in a difficult position, such as getting lost, walking alone at night, or feeling like someone is going to do you harm, trust your gut and get out of the situation.

If you cannot get out of a given situation straight away, have a game plan in place. Ask someone to track your location and text that person when you get to your destination. Have a tool in self-defense such as:

  • Keys
  • Knife
  • Pepper spray

Trust your gut, plan ahead, and work with the ones you love and law enforcement, if need be.

Stay in areas you know

A group of young adults in a long hallway.
Credit: Shutterstock/4 PM production

When it comes to campus, explore. Get to know what your campus has to offer and where everything is located. Going around campus has all sorts of benefits, such as getting to know your campus more and meeting new people.

When you are going around campus, make sure you note where police officers are and the blue lights for the emergency button are. Taking notes on bus stops and times, buildings, exits, and so on. The small details can help you, a student, a great deal in the future, if you need to get out of a bad situation.

Try to get to know multiple ways to get to one location and stick to the places you do know when in an uncomfortable situation. Being safe on and off campus is always important. Having a game plan, trusting your gut, and asking for help when needed will go a long way. Go out there, be safe, and have fun.

Written By

I am 20 years old, born and raised in the state of New Jersey. I am currently at West Virginia University, studying to get my bachelors degree. I am studying multidisciplinary studies with the minors in creative writing, history, and philosophy.

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