You’re in college. At this point in your life you’ve been warned repeatedly not to talk to strangers, look both ways when crossing the street, and to lock your doors at night.
But now that you’ve entered a new phase in life, it’s important to brush up on certain safety tips that could make a difference in your well-being on campus. Here are five sensible tips to help you stay safe on campus.
1. Don’t walk alone after dark
It may sound cliche, but walking alone after dark can leave you vulnerable to potential threats.
Most college campuses, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison, offer a free SAFEwalk escort system to students and staff. At UW-Madison, you can call or text a dispatcher to request an escort. The dispatcher will send a team of two student escorts to meet you, so you don’t have to walk alone. Student escorts are trained by the UW police and carry radios connected to campus police. Check with your campus safety department for more information on the safety escort programs provided at your school.
Many schools also utilize an emergency alarm system, like the Blue Light System at Syracuse University. Make sure you know where emergency alarms are stationed around campus in case you find yourself walking alone and in need of quick assistance after the sun goes down.
2. Download a safety app
Did you know you can download an app on your phone to help aid in your security? Both Apple and Google Play carry free safety apps in their app store, like BSafe. BSafe is a free personal safety app that allows users to create their own personal safety network. With features including a voice activated SOS button, “Follow Me” GPS tracking, and live-streaming capabilities, the contacts uploaded as “guardians” will be connected to your movements to help in compromising situations, even from afar.
Check your mobile app store for available personal safety apps.
3. Don’t overshare on social media
It can be tempting to tag your location when posting to social media, but sharing that information lets people know where you are, and also where you aren’t. Sharing your location with your followers could leave you vulnerable to stalking and burglary. Don’t compromise your privacy for a few extra likes.
4. Resist letting people into residence halls
It’s common for residence halls to require keycard access to gain entry. If you notice someone waiting outside to get into a building, resist the temptation to be polite and use your key to let them in. Call campus security instead and let them make the decision.
Similarly, don’t prop open exterior doors. It may seem harmless, but this act invites unauthorized people to enter the building. Don’t put yourself or the building at risk for theft or other crimes.
5. Opt-in to campus alerts
Signing up for campus alerts is the fastest way to know if there is a threatening situation happening nearby. Many schools automatically enroll students into a notification program using the cell phone numbers linked to student accounts, but check with your campus safety office to make sure you’re signed up to receive emergency text and email alerts.
Campus security departments do a remarkable job of keeping students safe while at college. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your school with questions about campus safety procedures.