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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.

Burglary

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

few minutes.

Vehicle Theft

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.

Assault

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

life.



Rex Fisher

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