Tips and Resources to Keep You Safe on Campus

All students deserve a learning environment with safe, secure, and comfortable facilities. We want our next generation of leaders to have access to as many safety resources as possible so they can keep their mind set on achieving success. College campus security protocols continue to evolve as universities seek new measures to ensure student safety and a comprehensive list of campus safety tips may help you navigate certain situations.

Increasing your awareness of potential risks and providing you with the tools or information needed to stay safe is also a crucial part of preparing for college. So today, we're taking the opportunity to share our top campus safety tips for HBCU students.

Campus Safety Tips

Many of these recommendations are often shared at orientation or move-in and during campus-wide events such as rush week or homecoming. If you have a priority or personal concern for your safety, it is good to keep a safety checklist on hand or revisit this article to remind yourself of the basics.

Tips for a Safer Dorm
• Before leaving your dorm, always ensure valuables are secure and your dorm room is locked.
• Find and sign up for campus emergency alerts. Save any emergency numbers in your phone for easy access.
• If you have a roommate, talk about it, and find agreement on the importance of safety or expectations with each other. This may include who else will be allowed in the dorm room and during what hours.
• Never allow someone without a valid student ID to enter the residence hall and, as you meet new people, always verify their identity.
Tips for a Safer Campus
• Only share your class schedule with trusted family and friends. When using social media, be smart with what information you share.
• Take advantage of programs or seminars on safety and training. Many campuses provide self-defense classes.
• Pair up. It can be tempting to go for a morning run alone or make a quick trip by yourself after dark, but it may not be worth the risk. Stick with a friend, whether at a party, on an early morning jog, or leaving a late study session.
• Use campus security escorts and safe rides whenever possible. Always use a campus escort or shuttle service when traveling at night.
• Don't let your friends go alone either. Use the buddy system to look out for each other as much as possible. Exchange family and friend contact information with your roommate or roommates and buddy so everyone can connect in an emergency. This also helps you stay accountable if a friend expected you to check in.
• Ensure all valuables with a serial number are registered with your local campus police department—electronics like your cellphone, laptops, PC, bikes, and so on.

How To Stay Safe While Walking or Traveling Around Campus
The most practical first step to staying safe on a college campus is getting familiar with the campus layout. If you didn’t have a chance to tour the campus before arriving as a student, take a self-guided tour with a friend. Observe the campus during the day and after dark to ensure academic buildings, walkways, streets, and parking lots you may use often are secure and well-lit.

Here are a few more recommendations to help you stay safe around campus:
• Plan and memorize the safest routes to your destination. Select well-lit, busy pathways and streets.
• Always carry your identification – Student ID or driver’s license. While carrying bags, books, or personal items, as much as possible, keep your hands free to access your phone or keys quickly.
• Avoid being alone at night. Don’t use alleyways or shortcuts that lead through isolated areas. Keep your distance should anyone stop near you or ask for directions.
• If you are being followed, immediately change direction and head inside the nearest business or public facility. If you still see the person following you, you should try to call a friend or campus security.
• Inform your roommate or buddy when you have plans, what time you expect to arrive at a place, and when you intend on returning or checking in.
Stride with confidence; keep your head up and look around. As you get to know your college better, you will have more awareness of your surroundings. Getting familiar with the campus and following safety recommendations are important parts of a safety strategy, but there is even more you can put in place to ensure your safety and security.

Safety Resources That Can Help
A smartphone can be an excellent resource for self-defense and safety. Many free apps are designed to give students instant access to authorities, parents, and fellow students when they feel unsafe. We highly encourage you to use safety apps as well as ask friends for safety app recommendations.
Here are three for your consideration:

1. bSafe – bSafe is a free app with a timer alarm that works for as long as you want bSafe to track you during an emergency. Features also include a voice-activated SOS alarm that automatically begins video recording. Voice activation for the SOS alarm works with live GPS tracking even if your cell phone is taken. You can also check-in and share your location with others.
2. Circle of Six – During an uncomfortable or risky situation, you can activate Circle of 6 to send a pre-programmed SMS alert message with your exact location to a chosen circle of six friends. Two taps on a smartphone are all it takes to activate.
3. Watch Over Me – Using the Watch Over Me app allows you to be tracked until your arrive safely at your pre-set destination. If you do not check-in upon arrival, Watch Over Me immediately notifies your emergency contact list of your current location. This app can also inform users if they are entering a high-crime area.

Along with these tools, every campus should also have a campus safety or security office, and your tuition is funding it. Make the most of this resource. Please make sure you are aware of the campus safety office and what they can provide.

Your safety and security are vital to us at LHP. We hope we've been able to help.