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
  • 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.