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A College Campus Safety and Security Guide

Campus safety has always been an important consideration for anyone attending college, whether they plan to live on a college campus or commute to class. College campuses have safety offices with security professionals who work to keep students safe, but students should also take specific steps to keep themselves and their belongings protected from harm. Learn how to stay safe on campus and what to do if you ever feel unsafe before you go to college.

The Clery Act

Since 1990, the Clery Act has been a federal statute that applies to all colleges and universities that receive federal financial aid funding. This statute requires these institutions to create and share an annual security report with employees and students. The report must include statistics on all campus crimes in the preceding three calendar years as well as information about how the school works to improve campus safety. The report also must include policy statements about the prevention of sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, and alcohol and drug use, crime reporting, law enforcement authority, and campus security.

Selecting a Safe Campus

Before choosing a college campus, find out about the institution’s security measures, and ask about assaults and other crimes in the past year. Ask about the security of residence halls and whether there are emergency phones located throughout the campus. Find out how the campus handles emergencies. Does the campus have a 24-hour public safety office? Does the institution use a text or email notification system to communicate with students and faculty?

Campus Safety Tips

Once you’re living on campus, follow proper safety protocols. Always lock your dorm or apartment door and your car doors. Don’t keep valuables in your car. As you walk around the campus, stay aware of your surroundings. Know where all of the exits are in a building or room. Carry a phone with you at all times. If you have to walk around at night, try to stay in groups or with at least one other person. Many campuses have programs that allow students to call the security office to request an escort across campus. Sign up for personal safety classes if your school offers them. You should also sign up for email or text alerts if they are offered by your school. These alerts will help you stay informed about potential threats to your safety.

What to Do if You’re a Victim of a Crime

If you’re the victim of any type of crime, report it to your campus security office and the local police department as soon as possible. Even seemingly insignificant crimes need to be reported to prevent criminals from hurting other people. After you report a crime, the campus security office and the local police will investigate. You have the right to have a support person with you during any interviews they conduct.

Alcohol Awareness

People who drink alcohol to excess can be easy targets for criminals because alcohol diminishes your awareness and responses. Try to avoid drinking excessively so you aren’t vulnerable. Excessive drinking can also cause academic problems, especially for those students who drink often. Binge drinking is defined as drinking five or more drinks in two hours for males or four or more drinks in two hours for females. Binge drinking is associated with car accidents, DWI arrests, assaults, injuries, and liver damage.

Healthy Relationships and Consent

Romantic relationships formed in college should be positive and rewarding, built on mutual respect and consent. Consent means freely giving a “yes” to another person regarding what you want to do. Healthy and respectful relationships involve communicating consent prior to and during any sexual activity and realizing that consent can be revoked at any time. Remember that silence or the lack of a “no” does not equal consent. Consent can’t be forced or manipulated, and it must be mutual between both parties involved.