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​September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month!

With the coming of the new academic year, students across our area have headed off to colleges and universities both close to home and far away. No matter where the campus is located, safety should be a priority for students, faculty, and parents alike. In preparation for the beginning the new academic year, it is important for new and returning students to review the safety information of the college or university they will be attending.

The Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education has created the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool, which may be used to search for general safety and security related information for colleges and universities across the nation. The online tool, which is available at https://ope.ed.gov/campussafety/#/, allows users to compare data for multiple schools, search for customizable data, and generate data trends pertaining to safety and security on campus.

Students should also review campus safety policies and emergency protocol and notification processes of the campus. It is also important to know details such as where to go, who to call, and what to do in the event of an emergency on campus. Students should be aware of the following:

Know your resources.Who should you contact if you or a friend needs help? Where should you go? Locate resources such as the campus health center, campus police office, and a local crime victim service provider. Notice where emergency phones are located on campus, and program the campus security number into your cell phone for easy access.

Stay alert.When you’re moving around on campus or in the surrounding neighborhood, be aware of your surroundings. Consider inviting a friend to join you or asking campus security for an escort. If you’re alone, only use earbuds in one ear to stay aware of your surroundings.

Be careful about posting your location. Many social media sites, like Facebook, Snap Chat, and Instagram use geolocation to publicly share your location. Consider disabling this function and reviewing other social media settings.

Make others earn your trust.A college environment can foster a false sense of security. They may feel like fast friends, but give people time earn your trust before relying on them.

Think about Plan B. Spend some time thinking about back-up plans for potentially sticky situations. If your phone dies, do you have a few numbers memorized to get help? Do you have emergency cash in case you can’t use a credit card? Do you have the address to your dorm or college memorized? If you drive, is there a spare key hidden, gas in your car, and a set of jumper cables?

Be secure.Lock your door and windows when you’re asleep and when you leave the room. If people constantly prop open the main door to the dorm or apartment, tell security or a trusted authority figure.

For more information on staying safe on campus visit https://www.rainn.org/articles/staying-safe-campus. If you or someone you know has safety concerns or has been victimized by a crime, contact campus or local police, or your local Someplace Safe office at www.someplacesafe.info/contact-us.html or 800-974-3359.

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