It’s that time of year again, children and young adults are heading off to school. For thousands of teens around the country that means going to college for the first time! There is the excitement from our parents and our siblings and the first taste of freedom. But it’s important to remember that with independence comes the responsibility to ensure your own safety. Whether this year is your first year off to college or you’re returning, it’s vital to your safety (and perhaps that of others) that you remain aware of your surroundings and don’t put yourself in helpless situations. Here are some valuable tips.
Avoid Traveling Alone if Possible
Be wary about who you let yourself be alone with. Get to know your new friends really well in a group setting before you just go over to their dorm room alone. Our first instinct is to want to trust these new friends from classes or clubs, but you need to make people earn it first.
Save Campus Safety’s Number
Save your school’s campus safety/police number in your phone and even create a speed-dial for it. If you’re in trouble, chances are you will not have time to take out your phone, remember their phone number and dial it. Having campus safety on speed-dial could save your life or someone else’s life.
Utilize the Emergency Phones on Campus
Pay attention to the special phone booths your school has set up around campus and don’t be afraid to use them in case of an emergency or even if you’re walking home and feel scared. They are there for that exact reason and having campus safety come to escort you home late at night is part of their job. If you see an accident, pick up the receiver at these phone booths as well. Why? Because it pings the location immediately on a map campus security has, so they know exactly where you are without you saying a word.
Don’t Accept Open Drinks
If you’re going to a party, never ever accept an open drink. You don’t know what could have been put in it and you don’t know how strong the alcohol content is. Every year this is one of the ways students are taken advantage of.
Carry Safety Tools
Carry a whistle or, if allowed, pepper spray with you. Attackers are quickly deterred when confronted with the threat of pepper spray or the noise from a whistle. These two tools are cheap, light and easy to conceal.
Don’t Forget to Lock Your Locks
Lock your windows, lock your doors and lock your car if you have one. Being on a campus does not protect you from people entering your room to steal stuff or worse. A majority of thefts reported in dorms had unlocked doors making them quick and easy targets for the thief.