Avoid walking on campus by yourself late at night.
College students today spend their days balancing academics, internships, jobs, extracurriculars and social lives. On top of all of that, the last thing that students need to worry about is whether or not they will be safe in their university buildings.
One in four colleges say that they are unprepared for a campus shooting and 46% of universities admit to being understaffed, according to a recent study conducted by Campus Safety magazine.
At a memorial service in December for the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., President Obama vowed action to prevent another school tragedy from occurring.
“I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens — from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators — in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this,” Obama said.
During his State of the Union address last week, Obama urged Congress to vote on proposals that include background checks and tougher restrictions regarding the purchase of guns.
In the meantime, what can you do to stay safe while on campus?
• Make sure to always have your university’s campus safety or emergency number on speed dial. Of course, 911 should be a top priority, but if the situation does not seem as urgent, call your campus security instead. The number for your campus transportation system — if your school offers one — should be in your phone as well.
• If your university does have a “safe ride” program, take advantage of it. Never walk alone late at night, no matter how close or far you may be going. It only takes a second for something to happen, so that few-block walk at midnight on a Wednesday home from the library may not seem too dangerous, but it is always better to be over-cautious. Use the buddy system.
• Always scope out where the security guard is headquartered in all of your academic and student-life buildings. If you ever need to contact security, it is best to know immediately where you can find them so that you’ll instinctively know where to go and what to do in the case of an emergency. It is also important to know where the safety department is headquartered on campus, and keep an eye out for blue-light call boxes.
• Don’t let strangers “piggyback” into your residence hall or any other secured building. And if someone asks about the whereabouts of a certain student, professor or class, don’t answer. Never reveal information about your campus to anyone who seems suspiciously inquisitive.
• Pay attention to your surroundings at all times. It may sound clichéd and obvious, but always be aware of who and what is around you. If anything seems slightly off-balance or suspicious, report it immediately either to a nearby security guard, the safety department or 911 if necessary. Use your judgment to determine what you seem apprehensive about and always keep in mind your personal safety.
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