With students heading off to college, taking safety precautions is essential.
From Yale to Duke, quite a few colleges across the country are coming to grips with soaring crime rates, as The Daily Beast has reported. Vigilance is the key to safety.
Here are 10 tips to stay vigilant and steer clear of college crime:
- Sexual assault. If you go to a party, go with friends and keep tabs on them while at the party. That second part is absolutely crucial to preventing situations that can lead to sexual assault.
- Phone theft. Use electric engravers to mark your personal property. Practice safety tips to prevent smartphone theft and never leave valuables in your car.
- Bike and car theft. Always keep your bike and car in well-lit areas. If your bike is stolen (which is a college rite of passage), there are ways to "steal back" your bike.
- Robbery. Avoid using ATMs at night, especially if you're alone. And when you're jogging off the beer calories, use the buddy system and don't wear earphones, which can alert criminals that you're carrying a valuable smartphone.
- School shootings. Since schools are moving away from the lockdown-only approach, learn your school's current protocol for handling "active shooter" situations. Sign up for school text alerts that can keep you informed during a crisis.
- Alcohol-related crimes. College crimes often stem from irresponsible drinking. Before you do a keg stand, be extra cautious about low-level crimes like underage drinking, drunken driving and public intoxication. Those crimes can snowball into other potentially violent crimes, so be on your guard.
- Drugs. Like alcohol, drugs can be a gateway to other crimes like sexual assault and battery. If you feel unsafe, leave the area immediately.
- Burglary. Home security can be tricky with a dorm room or apartment full of roommates. But it's important to set up a system that will keep the door locked and deter strangers from welcoming themselves in.
- Stalking. If you went through a bad breakup or feel the uncomfortable gaze of some creeper in Psych101, be aware of a pattern of harassment. If you think you've become a victim of stalking, contact the police and get a restraining order. Though who knows, maybe your parents are the stalkers?
- Battery. Bros like to get into brawls -- and sisters do, too. Avoid escalating the danger of the situation and take the high road. A blow to your ego is better than blunt force trauma to your face. Adopt that mantra for road rage as well.
For all of these crimes, it's important to contact your campus police. In some cases, news of on-campus crimes doesn't reach off-campus police, so it's crucial to use your campus resources for immediate help.