Privacy, Protection, and Security on Campus

While it may be tempting to think of your college campus as a safe haven where everybody can be trusted, the reality of college life is much different. As a college student, you have to pay close attention to your privacy, protection, and personal security at all times. It's not necessary to shut yourself away and miss out on the college experience altogether, but following the tips below can help you stay safe on campus and maintain your privacy during your freshman year.

#1 - Protect yourself: If you are a female, take a course in self-protection or self-defense. Unfortunately, college women are often the targets of criminals, so learning how to defend yourself is vital. Date rape is also a big problem on many college campuses. To avoid this threat, always hang out with a group of people, and never go out alone. Date rape drugs are another concern. Always keep an eye on your drink, and don't accept any drinks from people you don't know well. Ask a friend you trust to watch out for you, and do the same for them.

#2 - Protect your belongings: In general, a college dorm affords much less privacy than what you may be used to. If you have a roommate who tends to leave your residence with the doors unlocked, thieves may get the opportunity to steal your things while neither of you are around. Car lots on college campuses are often poorly-lit and unguarded, making them a prime target for criminals. Do your best to protect your belongings. If you plan to keep valuables and cash in your dorm room, hide them in different locations and write down those hiding places for future reference. In general, place objects a thief might want to steal out of sight, and keep your door locked whenever you are out of the room.

#3 - Keep your vehicle secured: It's a good idea to keep an extra key for your vehicle on-hand, but store it somewhere other than in or on the vehicle. Car thieves are getting wise to the fact that people keep spare keys in their vehicles. A tactic used by many is to hang out at oil changing stations and look for hidden keys. Then, they simply steal the car while it's parked. For your personal safety, check your back seat before you get into your vehicle, and try to park in patrolled, well-lit lots. If you're traveling by bike, get a good quality lock and chain the bicycle to a solid object that cannot be moved.

#4 - Educate yourself about campus security: Unfortunately, the security services on many college campuses are not as good as they could be. Find out about the level of security on your college campus before you arrive. For example, are there emergency phones along campus sidewalks? How often do security personnel patrol your dorm area? You can also ask about past and current crime statistics to get a sense of whether your campus is a safe place to be.

Last Updated: 04/24/2014

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