August 5, 2014

Tips on Campus Safety

When it comes to personal safety, you can never be too cautious. Here are some tips to help you stay aware of your surroundings, and, though some might seem like common sense or simply unnecessary, they are all important and should be incorporated into your daily routines. In general, always lock your door when you’re away from your room or apartment for any amount of time. Secure your car and keep all electric accessories hidden. Keep all valuable items in your home, such as cash and jewelry, out of sight as well. When you’re in public, whether you’re studying at Leavey or just getting a coffee at Starbucks, never leave your personal items unattended. If you have to step away, either lock your belongings to your table or take them with you.

When you’re at home, keep your door locked while sleeping or napping. Don’t let unauthorized people into your dorm or apartment building, and never prop your doors open. Don’t hide your keys outside where they can be easily found, and make sure neither your name nor address on your keychain. If, despite your precautions, an intruder manages to enter your home or apartment, do not try to stop the intruder by yourself. Try to get an accurate description of the intruder and then call the police.

When you’re driving, make sure you carry your keys while walking to your car so you can enter it quickly. Always check underneath and in the back seat of your car to make sure there are no intruders. If someone tries to enter your car while you’re driving, honk your horn and drive to a populated area. Always be apprehensive about helping strangers on the road, since accidents might be staged to create an opportunity for a criminal act. Of course, limit distractions such as cell phones to reduce your chance of an accident as well as keep yourself alert.

Students are probably most vulnerable while walking around campus. Avoid walking alone, especially at night. If you do have to walk at night, stay in well-lit and populated areas. If you suspect that you are being followed, run in a different direction, cross the street and yell for help. Draw attention to yourself and the situation in order to scare the suspect. Avoid wearing headphones, and when on your cell phone make sure that you are still aware of your surroundings.

If you ever feel threatened or uncomfortable on campus, utilize the many emergency blue light phones. Each phone connects you to DPS’s 24-hour communications center, and the responder will be able to see your location even if you are unable to speak. You can request an escort, report a crime or make DPS aware of suspicious campus on or around campus. Follow these tips, always be aware of your surroundings, and stay safe.