Campus Safety Tips

It’s that time of the year.  College students are either already back in school or will be shortly.  And whether your campus is full of ivy-covered stone buildings or of more modern materials and design, there is one thing that is the furthest from the mind of almost every college student: Security.

I know, it’s hard to even care about something like that when you’re in college.  You’re out on your own for the first time, everything is fresh and new.  The excitement on college campuses at this time of year is almost palpable.  New classes, new friends, new parties.  Everything is new.  And, that newness combined with a more laid-back attitude in the collegiate world is great in most things, but sadly can lead to major security flaws.

This was brought to mind from an article that appeared in yesterday’s Gonzaga Bulletin.  It was a thoughtful, and thought-provoking article from a young lady who seems to be in her senior year at Gonzaga University in Spokane.  She’s reflecting back on her earlier years in the college, and on the fact that she didn’t lock her doors while on-campus, and maintained that bad habit while off-campus.  She gives the reason as being one of time-saving; it was easy and convenient for her to walk up to her door and open it without having to unlock it. Yeah, probably not.  While that might factor somewhere way down the list, even college students aren’t that lazy.

I would venture to guess that the real reason Ms. Noorani and her roommates did not lock their doors was a false sense of security, mixed in with some naiveté.  I know, because I was a college freshman once.  No one locked their doors; even after people in our dorm began reporting stolen money.  Why?  Because we were invincible; our utopian college life was safe.  That attitude pervades too many college campuses, and the repercussions can be disastrous.

So, what should you do if you live on a college campus, or off-campus as the case may be?

  • Lock you doors, always.  This is the first line of defense, and without it, nothing will work.
  • Set guidelines with your roommates on who will be coming over and how often.  It’s generally someone with which you’re acquainted who robs, or attacks you, not a random stranger.
  • Don’t put yourself in a bad position.  If you just met someone, particularly of the opposite sex, don’t hang out alone in private areas.  The risk is too great.  Do something public if you’re trying to get to know someone.
  • Avoid throwing huge parties.  I know that may stink, but the reality is that large parties mean lots of people you don’t know in your house.  And that can be a recipe for disaster.  At a large college party, how would you even know if something was taken until well after everyone was gone?  So, just don’t throw them.  Plus, then you don’t have to clean up the mess afterwards.
  • Get a dorm security system.  They’re affordable, and with central station monitoring, they may save your life.

So, all in all, the rules boil down to this: Be smart, use your head, and have a great time.  This may not be “the best time of your life” (and, trust me, it won’t be), but its certainly a great time.  Experience college to the fullest, but do it in a safe and secure way.

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