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As you're ramping up for your first year or a new year of college, your mind is in a million directions. You're thinking about life on your own, making or seeing friends, packing, and getting your books in order.
As fun as it is to dream about all the possibilities ahead, there are some less pleasant things to consider. Living on your own means you have to protect yourself, and that's especially true on a college campus.
Keep yourself and your property safe with these campus safety tips.
Whether you're going to a commuter college or living on campus, your safety is your top priority. Incorporate these tips into your daily life.
When you get to a new campus, you need to know your surroundings. In particular, take yourself on a safety tour of the campus.
Learn where the campus safety office is. Find out where you can find help during the day and at night. Look for emergency call buttons like the blue pillars colleges place along walking paths.
It's also a good idea to know which areas to avoid, especially at night. After all, most crimes by adults happen at night. Go to your campus safety office and ask for their advice about riskier areas.
Social media is a big part of life for most college students, but are your posts putting you at risk?
Before you make any post, ask yourself if this is something a criminal could use to victimize you.
For instance, if you're going on a trip, don't announce it on social media. It's an open invitation to anyone who wants to rob your home while you're away. Wait until you get back to post about the trip.
It's also not a good idea to post anything that would make you look vulnerable. That includes posts about being drunk, high, or alone.
Make sure you set all your social media profiles to private as well. Only the friends you accept will be able to see your posts. Still, there are ways to get around this, so be as careful with your posts as you'd be if your profile were public.
Most people think of campus safety as protecting yourself while you're out and about. However, dorm rooms aren't exactly Fort Knox.
Put security measures in place to secure your dorm room. Lock your door at all times, whether or not you're home. When you go to sleep, you can add a door wedge so no one can force the door open.
Another helpful tool is a personal alarm. This is an alarm you can trigger if you feel threatened. It will make a loud sound that is likely to scare away the criminal while attracting attention for others to come to your aid.
No matter how many steps you take to prevent crime, nothing is 100% fool-proof. It's important to have a way to protect yourself as well.
While college campuses limit the types of protection you can have, pepper spray is usually permitted. For men and women, pepper spray is an effective way to disable an assailant so you can get away.
You don't just need to stick the spray in your backpack or purse, though. Make sure it's somewhere that is easy to grab. If you're somewhere where you don't feel safe, you can hold it in your hand so you're ready to fire at any moment.
It's also crucial that you know how to operate your pepper spray. Read the instructions but also make sure you practice. Your campus safety office may be able to suggest a place where you can practice without the spray blowing into anyone's face.
One of the best ways to keep yourself safe is to be aware of your surroundings and to make it known that you're aware. Criminals often look for people whose eyes are buried in their phones because they're easy targets.
Put your phone away and watch around you while you walk. If you're going to your car, look around before you get in to make sure no one is hiding behind it.
If you're going to an area you aren't familiar with, know your route ahead of time. You can check your GPS every once in a while but you don't want to stare at it as you're walking.
When you're walking somewhere and you encounter someone, it's also a good idea to acknowledge them. Eye contact with a simple smile or nod is enough.
In the rare occasion that they're someone who's dangerous, they're less likely to victimize you if they know you've seen their face and could identify them. If they're not dangerous, you're being polite and friendly. It's a win-win.
It's great to have your pepper spray, stun gun, or other protection available. You may not always be able to get to it in time, though. It's also important to learn how to use your own body to protect yourself.
Self-defense classes can teach you moves that can set you free. It's likely that your college offers free classes, so find out from your security office. They may have different classes for men and women, so be sure to get the details.
As an added bonus, these classes are a great exercise to help you ward off the Freshman 15.
College is a crucial time in your life. It can set you up for a fulfilling career and help you learn how to be self-sufficient.
This time doesn't come without its risks, though. The campus safety tips above can help you make sure criminals don't have the power to derail your education or make you live in fear.
If you're ready to stock up on the tools you need to be safe, shop our campus safety items and more online.
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