Take note: Here’s how to stay safe on campus

Each fall, approximately 20 million students head off to an American college or university. With a new environment and newfound independence, these young men and women can be particularly vulnerable in social situations. Among undergraduate students, 23.1 percent of females and 5.4 percent of males experienced rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation in 2017, according to the Association of American Universities. In addition, students are susceptible to instances of theft and other physical violence.

No one wants to think about these unpleasant acts, but being prepared can greatly minimize the risk. David Kelley, security officer, Parkview Health, has some great tips for students returning to campus.

Campus Safety Tips 
  • Be aware of your surroundings.  Try not to “zone out” or get distracted on your phone. Keep earbuds out! Look out for what is happening around you.
  • Do not walk alone at night.  Use the buddy system. As childish as it seems, you’re doing yourself and your friend a favor by sticking together.
  • Lock your doors.  Keep your car and home doors locked at all times, even when you’re awake. This can prevent attack and theft.
  • Have some extra cash on hand.  Having cash can save the day if you lose your debit or credit card and need to get out of a bad situation.
  • Have the right contacts.  Store the campus emergency numbers in your phone.
  • Map it out.  Learn your way around campus and identify places where you hide, if necessary. It’s also important to know where the emergency call buttons are on campus.
  • Call it a night.  Never stay at a party if your friend leaves. It’s incredibly risky to be there alone and could put your friend at risk as well if they have to walk home alone.
  • Be smart with substances.  Try to avoid becoming intoxicated and losing control of yourself. When your judgement is impaired and awareness is down, you are at a much greater risk.
  • Empower yourself.  Consider taking a self-defense class through the school or a local organization. You might feel comfortable carrying pepper spray or a loud whistle as well. Just make sure you know how to properly handle and operate any self-defense mechanisms.




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