According to a recent report, over 15,000 serious crimes occur on college campuses across America each school year. But only 20% of the nation’s secondary institutions took part in the FBI’s voluntary crime reporting program. Unlike cities and towns, counties and states, campus police departments are not required to report crimes that occur within their jurisdictions to any national or state database. That means that while that 15,000 might look like a big number, there’s another bigger, unreported number of crimes out there that no one really knows about. And that’s why safety and security among our nation’s college students should be as big a priority as their grades, the condition of their dorm room, and the dirty laundry they haul home to mom once a month. We’re going to explore some ideas and tips that can help make your child’s college experience safer, more secure, and full of more peace of mind for mom and dad back home.
1) Self-Defense The time to prepare your student for defending themselves is now. Sign them up for self-defense classes. Teach them how to properly respond to threatening situations. Teach them how to avoid threatening or dangerous situations to begin with. Arm your child with the knowledge and self-defense skills they need to be prepared for dangerous situations. A can of pepper spray and/or a taser are also smart additions to your much-anticipated care packages. 2) Common Sense Remind your child to never walk alone at night. It doesn't matter if your child is female or male—campus assault and rape are horrible crimes that happen to all genders. Whether they have classes at night or are heading back to their dorm room from a night of fun out with friends, encourage your child to not take the risk. Investigate if your child’s campus has a free-ride hotline, shuttle, or any other services that help students get to their dorm rooms safe and sound each night. Educate your child about the perils of binge drinking and the dangers of drinking with strangers. Everyone parties a little in college, and that’s part of the experience. But you can help your child understand that it’s okay to skip out on the dorm floor’s “thirsty Thursday” parties in favor of finishing homework, watching a movie, and getting a much-needed night’s rest before a long day of classes and possibly a part-time job, too. 3) Lock Down 80% of crimes reported on campuses are property crimes. While college kids typically don’t have much in the way of jewelry and fine art, theft runs rampant throughout many college dorms because they do still have plenty of goods that can be stolen used or turned around quickly for a profit: stereos, TVs, computers, iPods, video gaming systems—all the cool, expensive, high-tech gadgets that college students drool over. Purchase a small fireproof safe for the really valuable stuff and important paperwork. Get it for them now, while they are still at home, and help them get in the habit of locking away their things when not in use. A few seconds to stow that iPod in the safe can mean the difference between having it tonight and someone else taking possession of it. Campus crime is a disgraceful, ugly, under-reported thing. Help your kids protect themselves and their belongings by preparing them for it now, while they are still at home. If you need any more tips about campus safety, call your child’s university or visit their website.