College is an exciting time of life. Moving away from home and attending school allows you the opportunity to meet new people and explore new places and interests. When moving, no matter how close, it’s a different environment. With this comes possible risks. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s study on Indicators of School Crime and Safety (Musu et al., 2019), 42% of reported college and university crimes are burglaries. Here are seven dorm safety tips to keep in mind to keep yourself and your possessions safe when you go off to college.
Dorm Room Security Tips
Lock Your Doors and Windows
The first line of defense to a possible break-in is locking your door and windows each time you leave your room and at night before bed. If you’d like extra safety precautions, consider purchasing a door jam, door alarm and window alarm as these are all relatively inexpensive.
Keep Valuables Hidden
In college you’ll meet lots of new people in the residence halls that may come in and out of your room. Before having friends over, make sure to keep your valuables in a safe place like a lock box or in a drawer with a combination lock. When items are stolen from a room, it’s often an acquaintance or someone you’ve met before.
Keep Track of Your Keys
You’re running late for class and forgot where you put your key and student ID card. To prevent this, consider having a set place to put your keys or have a keyholder on your wall to hang up once you get back to your room. This will help your mornings run smoother and ensure you’re able to lock your door before leaving.
Prepare for Emergencies
You never know when an emergency will happen. To be prepared, make sure you review the dorm security policies and note where the best escape routes are for your dorm and when in campus buildings. To be further prepared for minor emergencies, consider putting together or purchasing an emergency kit to store in your dorm room.
Campus Safety Tips for Students
Use the Buddy System
When you’re walking at night make sure you take a close friend or two with you. The buddy system is effective for a reason, it works. When you’re out with a friend, the risk of being a victim of a campus crime is reduced.
Watch Your Belongings
We’ve all felt it at some point, that sinking feeling when you realize your phone or wallet is no longer where you put it. Did you misplace it? Did someone take it? When you head off to college you should always watch your belongings. Don’t leave your items unattended, even if you’ll be back shortly. You can take further precautions by purchasing tracking tags and placing them in places like your backpack or on your keychain.
Stay Vigilant in Public Spaces
When in public whether you’re on campus or off, keep an eye on your surroundings. Textbooks and bags are some of the most common items to be stolen. Make sure your bag is in front of you and closed and note where your wallet is at all times to avoid possible property theft and identity theft.
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