Are you a college student? Maybe you are the parent of a college age youth or maybe you are a high school senior preparing for the transition to college life. While most major colleges spend massive amounts of money and resources to keep students staff and visitors safe; don’t allow yourself to be lured into a false sense of security. Most colleges are looked upon as safe havens or places that everyone expects to be crime free.
A large amount of crime occurs within the dormitory or in an off campus home or apartment. You see college students are often prayed upon as easy victims. Most students have a routine schedule everyday, they go to class everyday at the same times, some students each lunch at the same time each day, students have set work schedules, especially for on-campus jobs. I know this and so do other students and criminals in the community.
Just take a look at the crime briefs in a college newspaper and you are likely to see numerous crimes committed both on and off of campus involving a students living space. So what can students do to make themselves less of a target? Well there are plenty of common sense things that can help deter crime and we will cover a few of the top safety tips.
Weather you live in an on campus dorm or rent a house or apartment, get to know your neighbors. In a dorm become acquainted with your graduate assistants (GA’s); in an apartment or rental get to know your landlord or leasing agent. Start a “lookout program” which simply means when you’re not home others are looking out for you and when you are home you do the same.
There are effective yet inexpensive alarm systems that will deter and prevent burglaries and theft. You can install a wireless motion sensor very easily. You arm it when you leave for class, if anyone enters a 120 decibel alarm sound and an auto dialer feature begins to call predetermined numbers playing your recorded messages. For example, you can program it to call 911 and state, “This is Bryan Smith of 1875 Newman Lane Apt. 214. Please send help right away, someone has triggered to motion alarm in my home and we need your assistance right away.” That is just an example, you can have it call your cell and up to 4 other numbers!
There are also window and door alarms that will alarm if the door or windows are opened, or if a window is broken. These are affordable on a college students budget and honestly should be something everyone has and uses everyday.
Another thing that has proven helpful is to meet with campus police. They can help educate you on the resources available to you both on and off campus. They can tell you when to expect patrols and provide you tons of helpful advice. Most will be willing to come and speak to your dorm or apartment complex about crime trends in your area. Officers can alert you to recent crimes and will assistant in setting up community policing.
If you don’t have a “peep hole” on your entrance door, you should request one. Even if you have to pay to have it installed, it is a wise investment. The inexpensive “peep hole” will allow you to see who is at your door. If you don’t recognize them don’t allow them entry and call for help. Did you realize the many home invasions occur without forced entry.
Finally, awareness is the key. If you see or hear something that doesn’t seem or look right, chances are it’s not. The faster you alert someone who can help the better off everyone involved will be. Always try and remember to details of an incident. What was the person wearing? Any tattoos or distinguishing characteristics? Approximate height and weight? The type of vehicle driven? The license plate number?
So begin to today, take an active role, a leadership role in your on or off campus community. Help to develop a culture and an attitude that embraces safety and develops effective ways to be proactive in every way!