It's late at night. You've been working in the library, studying for your exam tomorrow and you lost track of the time. The librarian says they are closing in five minutes and you need to go home now. You pack up your things and head out the front door. That's when you realize that your car is parked in a dark, scary parking lot that is a 15 minute walk away. What do you do?
Well thankfully, there are several things you can do to feel safer on campus. Most campuses have some sort of security escort service for walking around campus at night. Find out if your school has some sort of "safe walk" program.
Also, it would never hurt to let someone know where you are and when you expect to arrive safely home. A simple text message can take care of this.
Other tips for staying safe on campus:
1. Keep an eye on your things. Don't ever leave your backpack unattended, even if it's just for a few minutes.
2. Try to go places with a friend if possible. You are always safer in a group.
3. Keep your car, dorm, or bike chain locked at all times. People could take advantage if you don't.
4. Program the campus security phone number into your phone. The same goes for 911. You don't want to have to try to remember those digits in an emergency.
5. If you live in the dorms, don't let anyone you don't know into your dorm hall. Just because they say they know your hallmate doesn't mean they really do.
Check out the recent crimes on and near your campus. The Clery Act requires that all public schools report this information every year. Knowing what areas of campus have the most crime can help you know which areas to avoid when you are alone or at night.
Most of all, just keep your head. It's so easy to feel completely safe on campus and to get lulled into a false sense of security. And that is when you are the most vulnerable. But always stay aware of your surroundings and what is going on around you. Someone who is paying attention is not as easy to harm as someone who isn't alert to their surroundings.