According to the Safe and Sound Report from collegestats.org, theft, sexual assault and nearby criminal activity are at the top of the list for safety concerns at universities across the nation. Students should be aware of preventative measures to ensure their personal safety.
Foremost, know where your campus security entity is located. Is there an on-campus police department? What services do they offer? Is there a night patrol? Who can you call in case of an emergency? Who can you call to walk you back to your dorm or car after a night class? Education about your university is key to ensuring personal safety. Many schools offer escort services, self defense classes, and emergency response right on campus.
There are also personal defense items you should consider having on your person. Note that you need to also learn how to use them and make sure you’re complying with local laws!
We recommend installing an alarm system in your apartment. CoveSmart’s Touch Alarm Panel allows you to have multiple people have access to your alarm system. You can add, delete, and edit up to 20 additional user codes that facilitate the ability to arm and disarm the security system without granting access to change settings. For increased convenience, consider key remotes that allow wireless control of the alarm panel.
Though it may not seem like a mechanism for defense, having a bright keychain flashlight on is an effective crime deterrent. Many campuses continue to struggle with poorly lit walkways from the main campus building to parking structures and dorm sites. Having a bright light on and lighting your path at night makes you a visible presence for witnesses. Attackers don’t like the potential of people catching them in the act, so having a bright light to get you home after class can help in preventing an incident.
Pepper spray can be carried in California by adults. Because use of it is not life threatening, it is a legally acceptable form of self-defense. Having a small canister on your keychain acts as a visual deterrent and as a physical deterrent. Just make sure to carry it in your hand ready to go if you need it. Digging in your pockets or purse never helped anybody in the midst of an attack. Anyone who has accidentally snorted any kind of pepper knows the pain that comes with the spice; seeing a clearly labeled pepper spray canister helps to notify potential assaultants that you are not going to be taken on without a fight. Furthermore, if you are attacked, spraying the perpetrator in the face can quickly end the assault as they reach to rub the stinging liquid from their eyes.
Also legal for the purpose of self defense in the state of California, stun guns can be carried to stop assault in its tracks. You just need to
Other things you should do to ensure your safety are relatively simple but incredibly useful.
Carry your phone in your hand so it is visible. This lets others know you have 911 at the tip of your fingers. Do not be playing on your phone or texting. Being on a call is a good idea, but only if you are still aware of your surroundings. Keep the earbuds out of your ears. Look, listen and pay attention in dark settings. Keep your keys visible and in a strong grip if you are approaching your car. You do not want to hold them loosely (they could be stolen that way), but putting a key between two of your fingers in an “attack position” shows you are willing to defend yourself. Take lighted paths whenever possible. If a path is not well-lit, avoid it. Walk with friends.
There are countless resources available, both online and on-site, for students in need of assistance with issues related to campus security and safety. The key is to know what resources are available and appropriate for the given issue or concern and to be able to utilize them at a moment’s notice.