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Campus Safety and Security: How safe am I on and around my college campus?

Campus Safety and Security is a big topic these days, and students cannot afford to be naive about life on campus. While some campuses are safer than others, never tell yourself you are safe just because you are at college! You are on a campus with all kinds of people, just as in any city or town.


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When do we learn?

Students in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas: Don't go to Mexico to party or go clubbing. Stay away from border towns. The kidnapping/murder rate there is horrific. Another four Americans murdered this last week in Tijuana. Their ages? 19-23.

Pay attention to news reports about the war on the Mexican border.

Campus safety and security are important issues, and one that students and their families need to consider while searching for colleges and universities of interest. Click here to learn about Campus Safety and Security, Compliance with the Clery Act. While most campus crimes are non-assault crimes such as burglary, violent crimes do occur, and they are not likely to be publicized by the college.

When you visit a college, talk with some students and ask about safety measures:

  • Do they feel safe on campus?

  • Do they feel safe walking at night?

  • Are there escorts available on request?

  • Does the campus have call boxes so students can summon help?

  • Read a copy of the school newspaper to see if they publish police reports, and what kind of crimes are reported.

  • Check the school's crime statistics on national college crime reporting websites:

    Other things to do while visiting campuses

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    Colleges list their crime statistics at the U.S. Department of Education's Web site, but the reporting is not done well, and off-campus crime does not show up in reports of a school's crime stats.

    Particularly in sex crimes and other crimes of violence, schools may downgrade the severity of the crime by the words they use in their reports.

    Parents of murdered children sometimes take on activities hoping that their child's horrible death will boost awareness of not only on campus safety and security, but off-campus security as well.

    The Clery Act resulted in the 1990 federal law requiring reporting of campus crime and the Bonistall family from White Plains, New York, hope that their daughter's brutal slaying at her off campus apartment will serve as a stark reminder that while dorm life is relatively safe, off-campus apartments are an element in the concept of campus safety and security.

    Safety Points to Remember:

  • Remember that your campus safety and security is an important concern.

  • Lock your dorm room door at night.

  • Keep your dorm room locked when you are not there. Burglary is big on campus.

  • Check to see that back doors, and doors that are supposed to be locked at dorms are not left open all night.

  • Don't be shy about asking for a campus escort when you need one. Staying late at night in a building, for instance, ask security for someone to walk you home, or to your car.

  • If drinking at a party, ask for an escort, rather than a fellow party guest, to walk you home.

  • Don't go places alone with someone you do not know.

  • Get a club for your car.

  • As you approach your car at night, look under the vehicle.

  • Park close to store entrances, not at the other end of the lot.

  • Drive with car doors locked.

  • Keep your car locked, and program your lock so that when you open the driver's side, the other locks stay locked.

  • Report suspicious activity to the police.

  • Don't let anyone in your apartment whom you do not know.

  • DO NOT be afraid to assume that someone may try to harm you.

  • Consider Pepper Spray.

  • DATE RAPE/DRUG: Watch carefully any beverages you are drinking.

    • Don't allow strangers to buy your drinks, and always have the server bring it to your table, rather than another person at the bar or even in your group.

    • Date rape is not necessarily done by a stranger.
    • Colleges do not have great reputations for taking action in DATE RAPE cases.

    • One of the most popular date rape drugs is made from drain cleaner and a couple of other household ingredients. Usually the girl wakes up bruised and sore and with no memory of what happened: Sometimes she does not wake up.

    • Women need to be checked immediately at a hospital or clinic: Ask for the Morning After pill. Get checked for STDs, then and in about two weeks.

    • While Date Rape is usually a crime against women, men are not immune.
    • Learn about how to protect yourself.

      Learn how to protect yourself from the Date Rape Drug:

    • Some campuses have Rape-Awareness Seminars, students, especially men, should be encouraged to attend.

    • Always pay attention to your surroundings; Don't get lost in the moment and forget to be alert.

    • All women should take self-defense classes- check the police department, or phone book.

    • Keep your cell phone with you and handy at all times. In many cities, dialing 9-1-1 on your CELL phone connects you with county dispatch, which then connects you with the local police. Put the emergency number of your local police, and campus security into your cell phone with speed dial numbers.

      >Always remember that police would rather you call if you are at all concerned about anything.

    • Don't give your computer passwords to people you do not know.

    • At orientation, listen carefully to presentations about campus safety and security.

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