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Top 10 College Campus Safety Guidelines

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The most important guideline for staying safe at school and college is to know the school's emergency policies and procedures. Many times students take a relaxed attitude toward safety, so it is recommended that this information be reviewed by parents with their children, before they attend school. But there is only so much school officials can do to protect students. By implementing the following safety guidelines students can help themselves and lesson their chances of becoming victims of crime.

1. The Buddy System

Avoid isolating yourself by using the buddy system of walking in groups, or at the least in pairs and staying on well-lighted streets. Avoid being alone and keep a working cell phone within reach in case an emergency arises.

2. Stay Alert

Pay attention to what is going on around you and avoid blocking sounds or using distracting devices such as cell phones. Your ears and eyes are your best defense to being taken by surprise.

3. Listen to Your Instincts

If you think you are being followed, either on foot or by car, do not ignore the thought. Go to a safe environment. If you feel you are in immediate danger, run, scream, honk your horn, flash your lights - make a scene. Such action could deter a possible attacker from following through with their plans.

4. Communicate Your Schedule

Communicate your schedule to friends and roommates. Let people know where you plan to be and when you expect to return, but exchange this information discreetly. Avoid leaving notes on the outside of your door or on a friend's car. Only friends, family, employer and school officials should be aware of your schedule.

5. Use the Services of the University Police

If you must be alone at night contact the University police and ask for an escort. When working alone in labs or classrooms at night, lock the doors and contact the University police to let them know you are alone. Ask for drive-by patrol and an escort back and forth to your car. If you ever feel in danger do not hesitate to call 9-1-1 or the University police.

6. Keeping Personal Information Personal

Avoid displaying personal information on mailboxes, key chains, bookbags, apartment doors, etc. Get in the habit of using your first initial and last name. Leave a short, non-descript, computerized voice message on your answer machine. The less information a caller can learn from your message, the better.

7. Get Background Information

If you plan to meet a stranger, for example for a date or a study partner for the first time, meet in a public place like the library or student center. Ask questions before meeting them - such as what activities they are involved in, who their professors are and where they live. Communicate this information to a friend or roommate.

8. Do Not Open Your Door to Strangers

Do not open your door to strangers without checking credentials. Contact the office who sent the visitor for verification of their purpose. For example, call the apartment office for verification if a repairperson requests entrance into your apartment. If someone asks to use your phone, offer to make the call while the stranger waits outside the door. Do not open your door to see credentials, using instead the peephole. If your door does not have one, request that a peephole be installed.

9. Stay in Your Car When It Breaks Down

If your car breaks down, stay in your car with the doors locked until police arrive. Purchase emergency signal banners and keep them within reach in your back seat. Place the banners in the back or front window and turn on your flashers when possible. Call for help if you have a cell phone. If you don't have a working cell phone, keep a non-working cell phone in hand. If a stranger approaches to help, pretend to be using your cell phone and wave them on.

10. Strangers in the Dorm

If you encounter a stranger in your dorm or residence hall, ask them if you can help them. Let them know you are aware of their presence. Ask them to wait outside until you can contact the person they are looking for and lock the door when you go to relay the message. This can be done in a friendly but firm way. Do not allow the stranger to make you feel guilty about taking safety precautions or intimidate you into compromising your safety.

If at any time you feel unsafe, contact your campus police to investigate the person. Do not engage in an angry exchange with a stranger.

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