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Campus Safety

As clichéd as it sounds, college often feels like a bubble. You’re in an insular community, surrounded by friends, professors and an endless supply of Frosted Flakes from the cafeteria. However, though it might wear this façade of protection, colleges and universities are of course part of the real world. And, unfortunately, crimes are committed. It’s important to be familiar with your surroundings and be prepared.

Virtually all colleges and universities have a campus safety office. Though many campus safety officers are not actually law enforcement, they work diligently to prevent crime. And they can tell you about the tools, techniques and tactics employed to help ensure the school is safe.

Further, all colleges are mandated to report crimes committed on campus. However, when researching these statistics, you need to be smart in your assessment. Schools keep track of crime differently. It’s important to understand whether or not reports take criminal activity in the surrounding area into account, or whether they only concentrate on campus violations.  

Additionally, you need to figure out what specific incidents are being reported. For example, a college might have a number of offenses logged but the majority could be for minor infractions such as a parking ticket. And, you also need to realize that not all crimes will be reported. Therefore, it’s always best to pair these statistics with information you can glean directly from students. Do they feel safe walking around campus? Are they comfortable trekking back to their dorm alone at night? Chances are, if they think the area is secure, you will too.

While you definitely want to check out the safety record of all the schools you’re considering, it’s always best knowing how you can remain vigilant. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Don’t prop dormitory doors or randomly buzz people into your building. You can never be sure who is entering. If the visitor has a friend who resides there, they will let them in (eventually).
  • Lock your dorm room when you leave. Sure, the vast majority of your peers are honest, trustworthy people. However, you never know who’s lurking about and who may have accidentally gotten access to your building. Better to be safe than sorry.
  • When going out at night, it’s always best to go with a group. Further, you should always take well lit, populated routes. And if you are alone, consider calling/using the campus shuttle service.
  • Make sure you know where all the emergency phones are on campus. You don’t want to be searching for them mid-emergency.
  • Let someone know if you’re going out of town or deviating from your regular schedule.
  • Finally, trust your instincts. If someone or something is making you uncomfortable, there’s probably a good reason. Alert the proper people/authorities. Peace of mind sometimes comes with taking action.

College is a time of adventure and exploration. You’ll be introduced to a lot of new people, new passions and new ideas. Keep your wits about you so you’re able to revel in these new experiences safely!



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Don Munce