College campuses can give students a sense of security and comradery, even when students are strangers. But substance abuse, sexual assault and theft are just a few of the problems students will likely encounter in college. Having the proper resources and knowing how to avoid/respond to certain situations can make a difference. In an effort to curb campus crime and reduce sexual violence on campus, encourage college students in your community to take an active role in their own personal safety, and to act as active bystanders for the safety of their peers.
QuickStat: According to the U.S. Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool, the highest reported campus crime in 2016 after burglary was rape.
Campus Safety Tips for StudentsRead on for some tips to decrease your risk of being a victim of many types of campus crimes.
General Safety Tips
- Be aware of your surroundings. Look up and around, and don’t walk while looking down at your phone. Wear headphones in one ear only and don’t play loud music.
- Know campus resources: the location and phone numbers (enter them in your phone) of the campus police station/security, sexual assault services and health center. Know the location of campus emergency phones.
- Avoid remote areas, if possible. Stick to familiar, populated, well-traveled routes. At night, choose well-lit paths and use campus night safety services (e.g., escorts, shuttles) if available.
- There is safety in numbers. Travel with a friend or in a group.
- Give new friends time to earn your trust: don’t immediately rely on them. Someone who seems like a fast friend could be misleading you. Be cautious about giving out your personal information to new people.
- Walk confidently.
- Listen to your instincts. If they tell you to leave, get out of there. Most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows.
- Try not to weigh yourself down with heavy bags, sports equipment, etc.
- Have your cell phone with you.
- Carry money on you for a way home (taxi, bus, etc.).
- Consider installing a safety app as an added level of protection. Some campuses already have customized ones for students to use.
In social settings:
- Go to parties or social events with friends, keep an eye on one another and leave together.
- Keep an eye on your drink, and don’t accept drinks from strangers (to decrease your chances of swallowing date rape dugs).
QuickFact: There is a strong connection between drinking alcohol and an increased risk of being sexually assaulted.
- Find out as much as you can about your date before you meet in person.
- On a blind date, be sure that you can trust the person who is setting up the date.
- Avoid being alone with someone you don’t know or trust.
- Meet your date in a public place.
- Drink alcohol responsibly or don’t drink any at all.
- Don’t let down your guard until your date has earned your trust.
- Verbal consent must be obtained for sexual intimacy and as the level of sexual intimacy increases (e.g., moving from kissing to touching, from touching to oral sex, from oral sex to intercourse or anal sex, etc.).
QuickTerm: Consent means to give permission for something to happen or be done, or to agree to do something. Just because you didn’t say “no” doesn’t mean that you said “yes.”
If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation:
- Use a code word or words with trusted friends to signal your discomfort without alerting the person. They can help you with an excuse to leave or come and get you.
- Lie. Come up with an excuse (you have to be somewhere else, or someone is waiting for you).
- Escape. Find an escape route and get out of there.
Your Actions MatterIf you spot a situation that makes you uncomfortable, do something to stop it. Whether you intervene yourself or call for help, you are doing what you can to protect another person from becoming a victim.
Be Informed on Campus SafetyFind out what campus safety policies exist at your institution, what your rights are as a student and what services are available to you should you fall victim of a crime.
- Read up on The Clery Act, which requires all public and private institutions of postsecondary education participating in Federal student financial assistance programs to disclose campus crime statistics and security information to the public.
- Learn more about Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, that prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that received Federal funding.