Campus safety is a major consideration when choosing a college. While most students make it through their college years without incident, some will, unfortunately, become victims of campus crime. According to Clery Act Reports, an average of over 24,000 crime and safety incidents have been reported annually on college campuses since 2009.
The best way for a college student to stay safe is to know the common dangers on college campuses. Here are some important safety precautions to share with your college student:
1. Know Campus Safety Procedures
Make sure you’re aware of your school’s safety guidelines, what to do in an emergency, and how you can be notified about emergencies on campus.
Many schools have a digital alert system that both students and families can sign up for. Check with your school’s campus safety department to learn more.
2. Update Emergency Contacts
College campuses can be quite large, meaning students may have to walk, bike, or drive long distances alone. In these instances, it’s best to keep phones easily accessible in case of an emergency.
Be sure to update emergency contacts on your phone, such as the campus safety office or friends and family. This can also help emergency services contact a family member in the event something unexpected happens.
3. Always Lock Doors and Windows
It may seem like a no-brainer, but students, when you leave your dorm, make sure you have your keys and lock the door behind you. Locking the door is not only crucial for personal safety but also to protect your personal items from being stolen. If you don’t feel secure with the lock on your door, external devices can be added for additional security.
Keep your key safe; if it gets stolen or lost, you can tell the residence administrator, and they will help provide a new one.
4. Be Aware of Surroundings, Especially at Night
When walking alone or with others, be aware of the surroundings. It’s easy to get distracted if you’re talking on the phone or listening to music while you’re out and about. This can make you an easier target. Walk with purpose and observe surroundings for signs of danger.
When going out at night, try not to travel alone. Tell someone like a roommate or friend where you’re headed. Consider taking the school’s transportation (a bus or escort service), rather than walking alone in the dark.
Sharing your location with a trusted person by phone is an easy way to get added peace of mind. Students should avoid dark, vacant, or deserted areas and stick to well-lit routes. If you still feel unsafe walking alone at night, Public Safety may be able to accompany you around campus during evening hours.
5. Don’t Overshare
College is such a thrilling experience, and it’s natural to want to share all the new things and fun times you’re having at school on social media. But be careful about what you post. For example, don’t give out your exact location on social media because this can lead to grave danger. It may seem harmless, but just promoting that you are not home can lead to a residential break-in.
Parents, be sure to stress the importance of not posting every move on social media and why sharing locations is not safe. Remind your student that they can post about their experience once they’ve returned home safely or moved to another area.
6. Consider Renter’s Insurance
Be aware that most colleges and universities don’t replace stolen or damaged student property while your student is at college. The best way to protect yourself from financial loss is with renters insurance.
For example: If your student’s laptop gets stolen or their dorm room floods, renters insurance can help cover the cost of the item or damage.
Things happen, and we can’t stop them. However, we can be prepared, and GradGuard’s Renters Insurance can help. It’s protection designed for college life and contains exclusive features for students and families you can’t find in your standard homeowner’s insurance policy.
Most policies have terms, exclusions, or limits that may apply to students, especially those attending school out of state, so be sure to check any current policies carefully. A separate renters insurance policy can provide peace of mind whether your student lives on or off campus. Don’t forget a policy with personal liability protection and check coverage limits on expensive items, including electronics, jewelry, or musical instruments.
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