Safety Tips for Protecting Yourself on College Campuses
Why is College Safety Important?
College is a time of personal growth and self-discovery. It is a place where students are supposed to feel safe and secure. However, this is not always the case. The majority of college campuses in the U.S. are gun-free zones making them common targets for mass shootings and other similar crimes. There are many crimes committed on college campuses each year. This includes everything from sexual assault to murder. Considering other crimes in the news on school campuses, you may be worried about the safety of the college campus you or a loved one is attending. You might be even more worried if you are a parent, preparing to send your child by themselves to a campus that may be far away from home. Here are some tips that we think will help keep you safe on college campus.
Items to Have With You
Having defensive items on hand are key to keeping you safe at college.
Wearing armor to class may seem a bit overkill. But if you can wear comfortable and concealable armor that you know will protect you in the event of a ballistic threat, then why not? Just make sure you know your local laws. Spartan Armor Systems provides multiple options for Level IIIA Concealable Armor. Utilize our Level IIIA Backpack Armor Plates in your bag to have protection against nearly all handgun rounds. Read more about Backpack Armor here.
An even better option would be to apply IIIA protection directly to your body. Our Ghost Concealment Shirt with Flex Fused Core Level IIIA Soft Armor Panels provides four zones of handgun protection for your torso. The Ghost Concealment shirt is available in multiple colors and sizes, you can also buy spare Ghost shirts so you can rotate them through the laundry.
While many people think of a flashlight as just a handy tool, it is actually your primary weapon. A good flashlight used in the appropriate manner can be an effective means of stopping would-be attackers at nighttime. You can read more about methods in a recent guest article from Rob Orgel of ER Tactical here. Keep in mind that most criminals are opportunists looking for the easiest way to get what they want. Blasting someone in the eyes with a powerful flashlight at night will alter the mental state of an attacker and possibly make them reconsider their actions.
First off, you should always have your phone, charged up, and on hand. On your device, there are multiple apps to help you out. Everything from Map apps to navigate around campus, to fully developed Campus Safety Apps. Here’s a list of 10 mobile apps that make campuses safer. While having a phone can be a valuable tool in an emergency, it can also rob you of your situational awareness. Having your eyes glued to a phone while out in public can make you easy pickings for an attacker. Keep your head on a swivel and always be aware of your surroundings, that next level of Candy Crush can wait until you’re in a safe and secure location.
Other supplies that you might want to consider would be some sort of medical kit, (make sure you know how to use it), and other discrete self-defense items. Since most campuses are ‘gun free zones’, investigate some non-lethal weapons like pepper spray, or a taser. In the event of an emergency, it is likely that the help is minutes away when seconds count. Knowing how to apply medical equipment such as gauze or a tourniquet could very well mean the difference between life or death.
Be Prepared to Defend Yourself
Self-defense is an important skill that everyone should learn. It not only protects you from harm, but it also helps you feel more confident and in control of your body. Many people don’t think about taking self-defense classes until it’s too late. Ideally self-defense means conceal carrying a firearm. When that’s not possible, the last line of defense might be hand-to-hand. Take time to research self-defense classes in your area. Check out these other self-defense options.
Precautions to take while on campus
Keep Track of your surroundings
As mentioned earlier regarding phones, situational awareness is a major component of safety. Especially at night, there are multiple places where someone can “come out of nowhere” and surprise you with an attack. Keep your head on a swivel, especially when getting into your car. Check around the vehicle before you get in with your keys ready, and it’s always a good idea to take a quick look at your backseat to make sure everything is clear. Pay attention to important details, are your tires full of air? Is there anything you are neglecting that might result in you getting stranded on the side of the road? Also, give heavy consideration to the places and people you entrust with your safety. Going to a raging party might sound fun, but that doesn’t mean it’s a safe environment. Even outside of college, it’s always a good idea to ask yourself, “What level of safety am I compromising by going to this place?” The best way to avoid a dangerous situation is by not putting yourself in a dangerous situation to begin with.
Think before you post. Are you giving away specific details such as location, dates, times, and activities in advance? If an offender knows you will be alone on a walk at 9:30pm in the dark, you make for an easy scheduled target.
Familiarize Yourself with the layout of campus
Utilize apps such as Campus Maps, to help you navigate the campus. Especially for larger campuses, take the time to know where your buildings are and possibly different routes to them.
Use the Buddy System
When going to class, going out or just taking a walk, it’s vital to have someone with you that you can trust. If you do go out alone, at least communicate with that trustful person and let them know where you are going and when you will be back.
Campus Safety Office
Last thing to do, and probably one of the most important, is to get acquainted with the campus security. Know where their office is and their phone number, along with all other emergency services and numbers for the area.