As the weather turns warmer and we break out our rompers and sundresses, many recent high-school grads are preparing for their first year away at college! Among exciting events such as exploring your new town or rushing a sorority, there are also many hidden dangers for women on a college campus. With these simple tips on personal safety, you can protect yourself, your belongings, and your loved ones. Through smart thinking and preparedness, you can live your life fearlessly!
Staying Safe While Walking Alone
Keep emergency numbers in your phone. Your university’s Campus Security number and the numbers of trusted friends are great options.
Always keep your phone charged, and keep a charger in your purse. This will allow you to call your emergency contacts in case of any danger.
Take a self-defense class or workshop. They are often offered for free through college campuses, and video tutorials are also available online.
Carry personal safety tools such as pepper spray, emergency whistles, and personal alarms. Familiarize yourself with how to use them properly so that you’re always prepared.
Pay attention to your surroundings. Don’t use earphones when walking alone at night, or let your phone distract you. Distracted targets are ideal for potential attackers.
Carry emergency cash--you never know when you’ll need to call a cab or Uber to take you to a safe location.
Walk in well-lit and populated areas whenever possible. This deters potential predators from targeting you, since their goal is to attract the least attention possible.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you feel unsafe. You can always call 911, your Campus Security office or your emergency contacts to help you out of a dangerous situation.
Staying Safe at a Party
Always watch your drinks, and drink responsibly. Only drink beverages if you know exactly what’s in them--unopened cans and cocktails that you make yourself are the safest options for a night out. Even bartenders have been known to slip drugs in drinks, so be cautious in any situation.
Bring a friend, or several, to the party with you. Predators often target lone women, and a group of friends deters them from choosing you as a target.
Keep an eye out for your friends at parties. If someone is intoxicated, do your best to make sure they are safe. Calling a cab or Uber for them, driving them home, or calling a friend to pick them up are all great options for getting an intoxicated person home safely.
If you see a heavily intoxicated or unconscious friends going home with a stranger, do your best to stop them. An impaired or unconscious person cannot consent to sexual activity. Don’t hesitate to ask people for help, or alert the authorities.
Staying Safe While Driving
Always keep your car locked and windows rolled all the way up.
Keep your keys in your hand when walking to your car, and remain alert.
Don’t keep valuable items or money in visible areas of your car. This encourages a break-in.
Always check your car for intruders before getting in. Someone may be hiding in the passenger or back seat waiting for you to enter the vehicle.
Be especially careful in parking garages. They are usually dim and deserted enclosed areas, making them ideal locations for criminal activity.
Be careful during Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace transactions. Always try to arrange meetings in well-populated and well-lit areas, and during the daytime.
Preventing Home Invasion
Keep all doors and windows to your home, dorm, or apartment locked at all times.
Consider investing in a security alarm to prevent home invasions.
Never let strangers inside your home without you present. This gives them an opportunity to steal your belongings, or hide in your home and wait for you to return.
Keep valuable items, such as important documents or large amounts of cash, inside a locked, fireproof safe.
Keep shoes, car keys, and other important items in an easily accessible location in your home. This prevents you from searching for items you need to leave the house in case an intruder enters while you are at home.
If you see any signs that your home has been invaded (broken window, unlocked or broken door, sounds coming from inside your house) do not go inside or make your presence known. Leave the area and contact the police immediately.