College Campus Safety Guide

Campus Crime Statistics

A study conducted in 2010 showed that 92,965 crimes were reported to campus police. Of these crimes, 97% were property crimes; the other 3% were violent crimes.

 

Violent Crimes:

  • Nearly 2,800 violent crimes occurred in one year.
  • 53% of these crimes were aggravated assault,
  • 29% were robberies,
  • 18% were forcible rapes,
  • and 0.2% were murders/manslaughter.

Of these violent crimes that occur, the following is a breakdown of where they occur: on campus, or away from campus.

On Campus Off Campus
Burglaries 94.7% 5.3%
Sex Offenses 88.2% 11.8%
Aggravated Assault 60% 40%
Motor Vehicle Theft 57.9% 42.1%
Robberies 14.2% 58.8%

 

Burglaries

Robbery/burglary is the theft of another’s property, or unlawful entry with the intention of stealing.

Robbery – The taking of another person’s property using intimidation or force. A victim must be present for robbery to occur.

 

Burglary – Theft of another person’s property, or unlawful entry with the intention to steal. A victim does not have to be present for robbery to occur.

 


Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is any sexual contact or behavior without explicit consent.

Sexual Harassment – Includes; unwelcome sexual advances, and requests for sexual favors.

 

Stalking – A repeated harassing, or threatening behavior toward a person such as; following a person, showing up to their home or business uninvited, harassing phone calls, leaving messages or items, vandalizing property.

 

Sexual Assault – Is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the recipient.

 

Rape – Non-consensual sexual intercourse committed by physical force, threat of injury, or other duress.

 

Sexual offenses are the second most common on-campus crime that occurs:

  • For every 1,000 women attending college, there are an estimated 35 females that are victims of rape each academic year.
  • Approximately 12.8% of completed rapes, 35% of attempted rapes, and 22.9% of threatened rapes happen during a date.
  • Less than 5% of completed, or attempted, rapes are reported to law enforcement officials.

 

What to do if you are sexually assaulted:

  • Find a Safe Place
      • Immediately find a safe place. For many this may be the home of a family member or friend, a police station, or campus security department.

 

  • Get Medical Attention
      • It is important for a sexual assault victim to seek medical attention, even if it does not appear they are hurt. Doctors will want to treat any external wounds, check for internal wounds, check for STDs, pregnancy, and possibly even DNA of the offender.
      • It is best to get medical attention as soon as possible to ensure the best care and the best possibility of find an offender’s DNA.

 

  • Get Help
      • Sexual assault victims need to have a support system; people to talk to, and people to help them understand what they are feeling, and how to move forward. These systems can include counselors, doctors, friends, family, and other loved ones or professionals.

 

  • Consider Legal Action
      • Disciplinary action may be filed through the college, a police report filed through the police department, or full legal action can occur with lawyers. It is up to the victim, and their support group, to decide which actions are best to take.

 

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is an attempt to cause bodily harm to someone else purposefully, knowingly, or recklessly, with an indifference to the value of human life.

 

First Degree – The act is committed with the purpose and attempt to cause bodily harm. It is premeditated with malice.

 

Second Degree – The act is not committed deliberately, and happens without premeditation.

 

Third & Fourth Degree – These occur when the assault is meant to cause “significant” but not “serious” bodily harm. An example of this would be, fist fights.

 

 

Murder & Manslaughter
Murder – Unlawful killing of another person that occurred with malicious aforethought.

 

Manslaughter – The unlawful killing of a person without premeditation or malice aforethought.

 

 

Safety Precautions to Take

 

Keep Your Phone Charged

Cell phones are a great way to have emergency personnel on hand. Be sure to keep a full charge on your cellphone; the last thing you want is an empty battery at a time you need to access emergency numbers.

 

Carry Pepper Spray

Many companies make personalized sizes of pepper spray and/or pepper gel. They even come with keychain attachments so you can easily keep them close by when walking in the dark,  or running alone. Pepper sprays and gels are an easy way to keep assaulters from coming close enough to grab you.

 

Keep Windows & Doors Locked

This one seems like a pretty obvious precaution, but many people forget to make it a habit. Keeping the windows and doors locked help prevent unwanted visitors from entering your home, whether you are at home or away.

 

Take a Self Defense Class

Many community centers, gyms, and on-campus classes offer regular courses in self defense.  These courses give people the tools they need to better understand their surroundings and be prepared to take action when necessary.

 

Take a Buddy

This is a strong precaution for anything done at night especially. It is harder for assaulters to attack more than one person at a time; so bring friends. The more people there are walking around campus, or traveling through town together, the better the chances are that no one will get hurt.

 

There is Safety in Technology

While the incredible spur of smartphones has been hated on for many reasons, there are many reasons why having technology on hand 24/7 can be immensely helpful. Take safety for example; since practically every college student carries a cellphone with them everyday in their backpack, pocket, or purse, there are some great apps that can be useful for safety.

  • Watch Over Me
    • This app has two sections to fill out: watch over me while I ______ for _____. You put in your activity, and for how long you will be doing that activity. If you do not tap the extend time button, or end your activity by the end of that timer, the app will automatically contact your chosen emergency contacts and send them your GPS location.
  • bSafe
    • With this app, the user sets up a network of “guardians” that can follow you home via GPS tracking. They are also alerted if you press the alarm button in the app; once the button is pressed it not only alerts the guardians, but the phone begins audio and video recording so that if something bad happens, you can present evidence to the police later.
  • StaySafe
    • This app is similar to Watch Over Me, in the way that a user sets a timer; once the time runs out, there is an automatic message with a GPS location sent out to a list of emergency contacts.
  • Guardly
    • This app has a service that allows users to not only send out alert messages to specified contacts, but to 911 and the campus police as well. There is also a feature that allows users to quickly and easily make emergency phone calls even from a locked phone.
  • Kitestring
    • This app is a little bit different. It is an online website, in which users can create messages that will be sent to a list of contacts should you be unable to respond. Kitestring however, works through inaction, so after setting the clock for however long, it will send you an SMS saying that your time is up; if you are unable to answer that text within 5 minutes, your other contacts will be alerted.

 

 

Campus Resources

 

Campus Police

Most college campuses have their own on-campus police. There is a number any student can call at anytime to get the services of their own campus police. Save the number to your cell phone in case there is a need for it in the future.

Safe Ride & Shuttle Services

Whether on campus or at a party, there are many safe ride and shuttle services offered in college towns that can provide a ride home from unsafe situations, or a ride to a loved one’s home, when a student is in a time of needed nurture.

Counseling

Counseling services at most colleges include basic counseling, substance abuse counseling, victims counseling, and more.

There is an obvious need for counseling and help after being a victim of one of the aforementioned crimes. These services are typically free, and provided by the college to help keep all students healthy and able to work hard in school without distraction.

Campus Safety Websites & Programs

Many college campuses will have a website (or a portion of their school website) dedicated to campus safety. Many programs are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all college students when they are on, or away from, campus. Review these programs to ensure you know what the protocol is for any emergency situation you may end up in.

 

Safety Tips for On and Off Campus

 

On Campus

 

  1. Know your way around campus…

Try to stay in places that you know to be highly populated and well lit at night.

  1.  Don’t get too distracted…

With all of our handheld technology and noise canceling headphones it can become very easy to get lost in your surroundings, and to stop paying attention to anything that is going on. Look up, turn down the tunes, and know what is happening all around you.

  1.  Have a safety system for at night….

If you can avoid walking alone on campus at night, then do. But, if there is no choice, have a safety system in place; either use one of the safety apps mentioned above, or get on the phone with a family member, roommate, or friend; that way, if something happens, you are already in contact with someone that can help.

 

Home/Apartment

  1. Keep doors and windows locked…

This simple step will help keep anyone unwelcome from getting in.

  1. Don’t share keys or codes…

If you are having someone stay with you, don’t give them a key or share the door code so they can get in. It is best to keep all keys and codes secret to only those that live in the apartment/dorm.

  1. Get renter’s insurance…

Renter’s insurance can be fairly inexpensive for most areas, but can be a huge benefit should there be a fire, flood, leak, or robbery.

  1. Use the peephole…

Don’t answer the door before looking through the peephole to see who it is. Only answer the door if you recognize the person on the other side.

 

 

Parties & Events

  1. Keep an eye on your drink…

Don’t put your drink down, walk away, pick it back up, and start drinking again. Many college students find humor in adding drugs to people’s drinks when they are not paying attention.

  1. Don’t leave with someone else…

Don’t go outside, or for a car ride, or especially home with anyone other than who you came with. Parties are a dangerous place to get sucked into doing things you will regret later.

  1. Don’t stay if everyone else goes…

If the people you came to the party with are leaving, leave with them. Don’t get left behind at a party alone.

  1. Drink safe…

This means not drinking too much, on an empty stomach, or without drinking water too. The last thing you want to do at a party is end up too drunk to know what you are doing (and with who), or getting sick on the bathroom floor. Drink smart!

 

Conclusion

Staying safe while away at college is very important! Just remember that the best weapon against crime is knowledge. Don’t let these statistics scare you away from the many wonderful things a college education has to offer, instead arm yourself with the knowledge provided so that you are prepared and better able to keep yourself as safe as possible while attending college.