Universities and colleges are like their own little towns — many have their own police departments and residences. With a large population the size of a small town, campuses are guaranteed to experience some forms of crime.
Many crimes are theft-related, and alcohol and drug arrests can be fairly common. From my own experience at a large university, bike thefts used to happen almost daily, and there are always students who push their luck with underage drinking and general rulebreaking.
Rape, other forms of sexual assault and relationship violence are all serious issues for women on college campuses, though this article will focus on campus safety and violence on campus as a broad issue. Future articles will focus on a few more specific issues, like acquaintance rape, relationship violence and cyber stalking.
Scott Folsom, police chief and director of public safety at the University of Utah, gave suggestions on what college students should consider when thinking about safety on campus in multiple situations, though he said that most campuses are very safe.
“On most college campuses, it’s your property that’s more likely to be in peril than your personal safety,” Folsom said.
Regardless, it’s better to be safe, and you might even feel less stressed by taking precautions. You can also improve your chances of avoiding physical and mental harm to yourself.
1) Never walk alone in an unfamiliar area.
2) Stay in groups.
3) Be aware of your surroundings. This includes recognizing people and places of concealment. For example, don’t choose to walk through a heavily forested area when there’s an alternate route that is of about the same convenience. Concealed places allow hiding spots for potential criminals.
4) Know where safe travel routes and close parking lots are located.
5) Avoid traveling after dark in unlit areas.
6) Be prepared to run away, hide or confront a possible attacker.
7) Take a self-defense class on campus to learn some information on defense.
8) Keep your personal property concealed, no matter if it’s in a car, dorm room, public places or classroom.