In an article about campus safety, a pepper spray cannister on a keychain features red sequins.

Ensuring Your Safety on Campus

Because being at school should be a safe experience for everyone.
May 11, 2023
5 mins read

No matter how quiet a college town may be, chances are, students may not be as safe as they think they are. There are several things that could compromise the safety of a school campus, and while there are rules and security personnel to keep everyone safe, sometimes, more is needed. Dangerous things can still happen, even if students aren’t aware of them.

BestColleges reports that back in 2019, as many as 18.7 full-time students per 10,000 reported crimes happening on campus. The most commonly reported crimes included, “burglary, motor vehicle theft, sexual assault, and fondling.”

Most university security offices have a crime and fire report they put out every year for students and staff to read. However, if finding your university’s report proves to be a little tricky, you can always look at online databases from the Department of Justice or the Department of Education. While there may be potential danger all around, there are several ways you can stay safe on campus without bending the rules and getting into trouble.

Walk With Friends

Walking around campus alone, especially in the dark, is not a good idea. This can make you a prime target for people looking to commit a violent crime, whether that be mugging or kidnapping. Walking with friends in a bigger group can make you less of an easy target. When there are more people with you, there are more people for the perpetrator to subdue. In short, don’t walk outside by yourself when it’s dark.

Walk During the Daytime, or Carry a Flashlight

When you’re on campus, travel during daylight hours or when more people are around. In conjunction with not walking alone, you are less likely to be targeted if you are around groups of people. If you have to walk around during nighttime hours, take a flashlight to make yourself visible to others. Most campus police offices also have a shuttle system; you can request a ride anytime and they will come by and take you where you need to go. This is great if you feel unsafe walking back to your dorm in the dark.

Be Aware of Safety Protocols and Procedures

Almost every university posts its safety protocols and procedures in various places on campus. It also places them in the student and staff handbooks. Reading and becoming familiar with these policies can help in the event that you need to use them. Most universities have procedures in place in the event of fires, medical emergencies, suspicious persons or packages, earthquakes, sexual misconduct, active shooters, gas leaks or hazardous materials.

Subscribe to the Campus Alert System

Many campuses have alert systems for students and faculty to subscribe to. They typically offer text and email options to appeal to both the student and faculty bodies. Usually, your college will send you an email or a text message encouraging you to subscribe to these services. Having them on your phone makes it easier for your college to send out campus-wide alerts. This is true regardless of the type of emergency.

If Allowed, Carry Pepper Spray or a Personal Alarm on Your Keychain

Carrying MACE spray or a Birdie alarm can be the difference between becoming a victim and walking away unscathed. Each of these products can disarm an attacker and give you time to get away. There are other small self-defense weapons you can carry around with you, such as expandable batons, stun guns and kubotans. Before buying any of these products, ensure that your school allows them on campus as self-defense mechanisms so you don’t have them confiscated.

Campus safety is essential. In fact, staying safe while in school is as important as the classes you’re there to take. To keep yourself out of harm’s way, use the tips above or check in with your campus safety officer. Their main job is to protect you, so they’ll have plenty of advice to give you while you’re a student there. Stay safe, everyone!

Katie Koenig, George Fox University

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Katie Koenig

George Fox University
English and Journalism

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