18 Jul Personal Security for College Students
Enhancing your personal security as a college student does not have to be very
complicated or time consuming. This may be the first time you are away from home
and you probably have not thought too much about you personal security until
now. Even worse, many students think, “It can’t happen to me.” The most
important thing you can do is adopt the mindset that college students are
targets for criminals, and that it can indeed happen to you.
I am a professor in a small college town in rural Idaho where my oldest daughter
just graduated with her degree. I have seen, firsthand, how casually college
students treat their personal security. They just do not believe anything will
happen to them – especially in a small town like this one. The sad truth is that
there is a lot of crime perpetrated against college students. Campus crime
statistics from all over the United States show that the three most common
offenses are burglary, vehicle theft, and assault. You can reduce the chance
that it will happen to you. Most of what you must do is very simple; you just
need to remember to do it.
As a group, college students have more expensive computer and electronic
equipment than the general population. These items are valuable, easy to sell,
and very portable. Because students spend a lot of time socializing in each
other’s apartments and dorm rooms, nobody regards it as suspicious when they see
people they do not know coming and going. An unlocked apartment is “easy
pickings” for criminals.
Always lock your door – even if you will only be across the hall for a
You can usually tell which cars belong to students, and which ones belong to
faculty at my university. Students drive the expensive ones. Their cars are the
most likely to be stolen. But, even more common than losing your car, is having
your belongings taken from it. College students tend to keep a lot of valuables
in their cars. Make sure your car is locked and your valuables are out of sight.
Locking them in the trunk is even better.
Always lock you car with the windows up – even on blistering hot days.
Maybe you ride a bike instead. Bicycles are also popular targets for thieves.
They can be very expensive and are often easy to steal. When a thief rides away
on your bike, everyone will just think he owns it.
Always lock up your bike with a good cable or frame lock – and take
the front wheel with you if possible.
Your personal security after dark is of special concern, because this is when
most assaults occur. Assault is bad enough, but sexual assault is even worse. It
can scar you for life, so women should be particularly careful. There is safety
in numbers. If you must be out after dark, go with a friend. If you cannot find
another student you know to go with you, use a security escort. Many campuses
provide this as a free service for college students traveling back to their
dorms from the library or late night classes. You simply call campus security
and some security escorts will come to walk you home.
Always walk with a friend or security escort after dark – even if it
is just across campus.
Dating can also result in sexual assault. One of the best things you can do on a
date to reduce the likelihood of sexual assault is to refrain from alcohol and drugs.
Insist that your date does too. Drinking, or taking drugs, impairs your
judgment, and weakens your inhibitions. Some men, sadly, hope it will make their
date more receptive to sexual activity. Because alcohol and drugs makes some
people aggressive, he might not take “no” for an answer. Aside from any moral
issues you may have with sex, your date may have Herpes or HIV. There is no
known cure for either of these diseases. Do not let your guard down.
Always avoid alcohol and drugs during a date – it could save your