The following is a guest blog post sent to us by Marina Salsbury
College Crime: Preventable With Awareness
While most parents and prospective students regard college as four years of final educational preparation for adult life, in reality college campuses are also often targets for crimes against property and persons. Students in schools big and small become victims of college crimes, many that quietly get covered up because college administrations are extremely sensitive to bad press. However, there’s no need to attend an online college to keep safe. For concerned students and parents awareness is the best way to prevent college crime.
In terms of violent crime, most college incidents occur when victims is traveling or standing alone in a dark area or at night (not including sexual attacks). By simply avoiding being alone and instead traveling with someone else, students can drastically reduce the chances of being targeted. Students should also pay attention to campus-wide alerts or notices about local crime. By heeding news about suspects, students can also avoid becoming victims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Additionally, many students become victims of crime simply because they drink too much alcohol. Students who become heavily intoxicated or black out leave themselves largely vulnerable to whoever is around them. Rapes, assaults, and pranks all befall students who are too drunk to know what’s going on or to prevent the attacks. By simply exercising moderation in their drinking, students can avoid placing themselves in these sorts of situations.
Property theft is common on campuses as well, particularly with fashionable electronics. Smartphones, computers, and stereo systems all make great targets for thieves. Students are better served being discrete about their belongings or keeping valuable items securely hidden when not in use. If it’s not seen, the property can’t be much of a target to opportunistic criminals.
The biggest defense students have is to maintain situational awareness. This means always being aware of what’s going on around you. It’s not a paranoid state of mind, it’s paying attention to conditions, your immediate environment, and people near you. It also involves not placing yourself in situations where you will have a difficult time protecting yourself.
For many students, there’s an illusion of safety in college. Crime occurs out in towns and cities, not on college campuses. Unfortunately, this uncritical misconception repeatedly leads students to place themselves in bad situations where someone can take advantage.
Be Friendly, but Don’t Trust Everyone
Students want to trust each other like family. They’re spending two thirds of their days with roommates, friends, and romantic interests when not in classes. It’s easy to be trusting of anyone who looks like a student on campus. Instead, students need to remember to be cautious of people trying to get close. Being friendly is fine, but don’t trust just anyone with your safety or well-being. Again, safety comes with being proactive, not waiting to react when trouble arrives.