6 Safety Tips for Students Returning to Schools this Fall
Going back to school this fall will not simply be about books and dorm supplies. Personal security is front and center in just about every activity we are involved in nowadays. A safe return to the school campus is no different.
With millions of students heading back to college, even the safest college campuses may still be at risk for some type of crime. Most schools have safety offices and procedures in place to protect their students and faculty, but improving personal safety can add an extra layer of protection to both students and their property.
Consider these six safety tips before heading back to school.
1. Familiarize Yourself with the Campus, the School’s Security Office and Procedures
Every campus will have a security team and office. Check out your college’s website for info and note contact methods, phone numbers, and office hours. The security service may even offer recommendations for how to avoid risks in the area and what you should do in case you need help. Also check your school’s annual safety report to see how the institution fares.
You can call or email security services to acquire more information and check to see if they provide the following services:
- Escort services on campus
- Emergency phone stations and their locations
- Safety apps that you can download
- Suggested secure routes when moving about
Also inform yourself about how a modern school door locks works and if you will need smart lock credentials to enter and exit facilities.
2. Lock Your Dorm Room or Apartment
This may seem like a given, but it’s surprising how trusting one can be in a study environment. Not only should rooms be locked when you leave, but consider locking up laptops, valuables, and windows.
Familiarize yourself with residential, dorm, and apartment security systems. Windows are especially important on ground and first floor locations. Close curtains and blinds so potential thieves cannot see what’s inside. Also consider laptop locks, contact sensors, and a small safe especially when sharing lodgings. When returning, have your key ready in your hand.
3. Be Careful When Going to Your Car
Park in a well-lit public parking space. Before getting into your car, check the backseat and even glance underneath as predators can hide anywhere. Do not leave your car unlocked, with the motor running in a driveway or parking space, or leave the windows rolled down. Visually check out the area around your car and be wary of someone loitering or apparently waiting near your auto.
When preparing to go to your vehicle, have your car keys ready and in hand. You don’t want to be wasting precious seconds if someone approaches you. Never multitask when going to or leaving your vehicle. Whatever you need to do can wait until you are safely seated in your car or inside the location you are heading to. Lock your car when inside.
Never leave valuables, like a purse or a backpack unattended in plain sight within your car. If you have valuables, take them with you. If you cannot do so, place them in the trunk or hidden from view. Should you decide for ridesharing service, always verify the license plate, car type and color, as well as driver details before entering the car.
4. Be Aware of Social Media Risks
Even if you hope to keep Mom and Dad, as well as your friends up to date on what’s going on in your life, social media provides a window for the ill-intentioned to peer through. Hackers, stalkers, scammers, or thieves can all get a bird’s eye view into your life and habits thanks to social media.
Be careful about what you post such as when you won’t be home and avoid geo tagging as it can reveal your location. Review your accounts’ security settings so that information is limited to family members or close friends. Do not activate location services or remain logged in. Remaining logged into accounts can leave you vulnerable to hackers if you misplace or have your device stolen.
5. When on the Move, Exercise Caution
When moving to or from campus or between campus facilities, never leave your property unattended. This means backpacks, purses, laptops or tablets, phones, books, etc. Walk with a friend or friends using the buddy system and always have a functioning cell phone on your person. It will be more accessible if in a pocket and not in a purse or backpack.
Do not move when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Call someone, even campus security for a ride. Avoid accepting rides from people you don’t know. Do not hitch hike. If you feel like someone is following you, change directions or go to a restaurant, store, or even a lighted house for help. Do not get too close to unknown vehicles, should strangers stop to ask for directions.
6. Stay in Contact and Have a Plan
When moving around on or off campus, always let someone know where you are going, with whom, and when you expect to come back to your living quarters. Do not lend out keycards or keys, and do not permit anyone to tail you into a building or residence. When selecting living quarters, opt for buildings that have flexible methods of entering and exiting including smartphone apps, cards, or other.
Carry appropriate identification such as a license or ID card, emergency contact numbers, pertinent medical information, a credit card, and a small amount of cash. Do not carry your social security number with you. Avoid openly showing cellphones, tablets, jewelry, and anything obviously expensive.
Should someone rob you, give up your property and avoid any confrontation. Observe your aggressor to be able to provide law enforcement with a detailed description.
So, there you have it, our top six safety tips for students returning to schools this fall. Please share if you have a friend whose child is off to college!