Campus safety is often a point of discussion for students attending university. While most colleges do their best to ensure measures are put in place to provide a safe environment, students should also follow best practices to protect themselves and their belongings.

Even the safest colleges are susceptible to crime. Review the following safety tips for often to ensure you are taking the proper precautions during your time in and around university campuses.

Know your resources

If you are unsure of what safety precautions your college has in place, visit the security office and ask or check your college’s website. Many campuses have safety programs set in place to ensure the security and comfort of their students. Typical programs include campus escort services, emergency phone stations, safety apps, and maps highlighting specific routes to take in and around the campus.

Be aware of your surroundings

Being alert and aware of your surroundings is crucial not only around college towns but also in your day to day life. Familiarize yourself with the area and where you are headed so you can walk with confidence. Looking confused or distracted may make you more susceptible to harm. Keep your headphones and music off, especially when traveling through busy or deserted paths.

Go out in groups

Especially in the evening, use the buddy system when headed out. Review your plan for the night with the rest of your group so you can plan to arrive and depart together. Keep your belongings on you and pay attention to your gut instinct in social settings. It’s best not to assume danger is lurking around every corner; however, avoiding walking alone is a smart decision especially when it is dark outside.

Lock up your belongings

Even if leaving your room briefly, make sure your doors and windows are always locked. Store valuables away where they are not seen and avoid leaving technology or other items visible in your car. Invest in a proper safe or lock to store your items safely when out.

Protect your privacy on social media

While it may seem fun to tag your location on social media, be wary of how often and where you are doing it. It’s a great way to let your friends and family know where you are and what you are up to, but it can also show unwanted guests your location and plans for the evening.

College is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, where one can reflect on the good times and hard work that will pay off in the future. Still, crime is present, and it is important students are aware of the resources available to them and are taking the right steps to ensure their safety. If you have experienced crime or assault, call the police and follow their instructions. Take the time needed to recover, and reach out to support services through the school, family, and friends. Never be afraid to request a housing change if needed, and understand that it is not your fault you were a victim of the crime.