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Campus Safety Tips for Your College Student this Fall

Jason Reese

Keeping Your College Student Safe

Campus safety remains a national concern as the number of crimes and tragedies occurring at universities across the U.S. increases each year. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics report there are as many as 27,000 criminal incidents reported to police and security agencies each year against persons and property on campus at public and private post-secondary institutions.

As a new year has started up for many Indiana college students, we encourage parents to talk to their children about making good choices and taking safety precautions seriously. Parents and students also need to keep college administrators accountable in upholding their campus as an environment where all students can have a safe and successful school year.

Campus Safety Tips To Review With Your College Student

  • Residence hall and dorm safety starts with access. Don’t loan keys to others, leave or prop doors open. Never let strangers into residence halls. Never enter another student’s room alone (or with others) if you feel uncomfortable.
  • Pick the road most traveled. Always take the path that is more populated, lit up and visible, even if it is longer. Report any broken lights to campus authorities. Be aware of lighting around entrances to residence halls and other buildings and don’t travel alone at night.
  • Recognize the emergency phones available throughout campus. These blue light boxes are strategically placed in parking lots, along university trails, and throughout campus. Tell your child to not be afraid to use them if concerned or to dial one if they feel they need an escort to provide a safe way home. Campus security will help. Keeping campus security’s contact information on hand can also help if an emergency phone is not available.
  • Let others know the schedule. Students should let their roommates, close friends, or even parents know their schedules. Students can also save their schedule on their computers or personal devices if an emergency should occur and others need access to it.
  • It’s never a good idea to drink alcohol or take drugs and drive. For students who drink even small amounts of alcohol, it is very important to remember never to get into a car and drive while intoxicated. While being under the influence in college usually has only minor consequences, even if you are underage, drinking or taking drugs and driving can cause fatal accidents.
  • Understand car safety. Students should never leave their car unlocked or with the windows rolled down. Safety officials agree that when a driver is walking towards their parked car, they should approach it at an angle that allows them to see around the vehicle, and check the back seat before opening the door.
  • Don’t be distracted while driving or riding a bike. Cell phones are best left in the backpack while students are driving or riding their bikes on campus. Not only do cell phone distractions increase the risk of a crash dramatically, it is against the law for any driver under the age of 21 to use a telecommunication device while driving unless making a 911 emergency call.
  • Maintain privacy on social media. Social media is a great platform for connecting with friends and family worldwide or sharing updates about college life. However, students should stay aware of who else could be viewing your profile and program privacy settings to friends and family only. College students, as tempting as it is to do, should avoid adding the locations to their photos, as it reveals their exact location to strangers.
  • Know where you’re going. Let your child know that whenever they are getting ready to leave and explore a new area of town or campus, they should make sure they know where they might be heading and how to get there. They should also be cognizant of how they will travel to and from the location because city transportation or taxi services may only be accessible at certain times. Students should walk with confidence and avoid looking confused, even when trying to navigate a new location. If they find themselves in an unfamiliar area, don’t be distracted, and focus on finding your destination quickly.
  • Learn how to defend yourself. Students will feel safer and more confident, especially if they live or travel alone, once they know how to protect themselves, physically. Many college campuses offer self-defense type classes that will provide safety strategy and tips if students find themselves in a dangerous situation.

Laws Protecting College Students

Several laws have been set into place to help college students stay safe on campus. These rules have also helped direct universities to prevent crime and address other serious safety issues.

  • The Jeanne Clery Act is a consumer protection law that aims to provide transparency around campus crime policy and statistics. In order to comply with Clery Act requirements, colleges and universities must understand what the law entails, where their responsibilities lie, and what they can do to actively foster campus safety. Although an institution can have a plan and set up a framework for safety on campus, students’ awareness of their surroundings and their own actions will help to keep them safe.
  • The National Center for Campus Public Safety (NCCPS) exists to support campus officials in creating safer and stronger campus communities. The National Center for Campus Public Safety was established in 2013 with a $2.3 million bipartisan grant from the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). The Center collaborates with campus safety, law enforcement, and emergency management professionals; administrators; students; advocacy organizations; community leaders; professional associations; federal agencies; and others who work tirelessly to support safer campuses.

Keeping a realistic and educated, open conversation with your child about campus policies and your concerns will help college aged students think about safety and how to prevent injuries and accidents through making smart choices. These open conversations can also help ease a parent’s mind that their child will be just fine.

Keeping Colleges Safe and Accountable For Your Family

Wagner Reese wishes all families a wonderful start to the school year. But if your college student suffers from an unfortunate injury or wrongful death because of campus safety issues or another student’s negligence, Wagner Reese is here to help. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and we will ensure you and your family receive the justice you deserve: (888) 204-8440.


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