College Security and Safety for Sons and Daughters

The college years can be some of the most memorable of our young adult lives. But not everyone's college memories are fond. With reports of on-campus rapes, college shootings, and other heinous student crimes on the rise, it's important our sons and daughters be educated about college security and safety before they leave home.

According to a study published by the National Institute of Justice, college women are at higher risk of being raped or sexually assaulted than any other group of women. Based on the findings of the study, for every college with 10,000 female students, more than 350 rapes occur each year within that group of women.

The study also found that many college women don't report their sexual assaults as a crime to legal authorities. There are several reasons for this, including a lack of understanding of the definition of rape from a legal perspective, feelings of embarrassment, and knowing the perpetrator but not wanting to label him as a rapist. Some of these women also blame themselves for the sexual attack, feeling as if it was their own fault due to what they consider their own poor choices at the time.

Of course, this could not be further from the truth. It doesn't matter how a woman finds herself in a compromising situation. If she doesn't consent, anything a person forces upon her sexually is a crime.

Young men are also at risk of becoming the victim of cruel acts at the hands of their fellow students. In a report published by The New York Times, Florida A&M University college student, Robert Champion, was beaten after a football game as part of the marching band's hazing ritual. The ritual required the students being hazed to walk down the aisle of the bus and allow fellow classmates to punch them. After the hazing, Mr. Champion was found unresponsive on the bus and pronounced dead at the hospital.

Reports like these have to be taken seriously. To think such a tragedy will never happen to your son or daughter would be a mistake. Whether it be your child's first, second, or last year in college, make sure they incorporate the following college security and safety measures into their daily lives.

Stay Alert and Prepared at All Times

Whether walking across campus or a nearby shopping mall parking lot, it's important to stay alert of your surroundings at all times. Never fool yourself into thinking that crime will never happen to you. It can happen to anyone. You can minimize your risk, however, by following these important safety tips:

  • Always let someone know where you're going, who you'll be with, and when you expect to return. This is especially important when traveling off campus and going on dates. Also, be sure to keep your contacts informed of any changes in your original plans.
  • Program your cell phone with emergency numbers, including campus police.
  • Carry an extra phone charger with you at all times (in your purse, your car, backpack, etc.). This will ensure your phone is accessible in the case of an emergency.
  • Use the buddy system. It is always better to walk/travel to your destination with a group than to walk alone.
  • Avoid traveling across unpopulated, remote shortcuts across campus, especially at night.
  • Report all suspicious activity, people, and vehicles to campus security the moment you notice it. It's better to say something and be wrong than to keep quiet and risk harm to you and others.

Equip Yourself with a Few Self-Defense Tools

There are a variety of self-defense devices on the market, many of which are affordable, even on a college student budget. Should an emergency situation arise, the following are a few devices and methods you can use to defend yourself:

  • Pepper Spray: A quality pepper spray device is one that can dispense the spray at a minimum distance of 9 feet. The greater the distance between you and the would-be perpetrator, the better.
  • Stun Gun: While a stun gun can be a very useful device when it comes to incapacitating an attacker, it's important to check the laws in your state. Many states require the carrier to take a certified course in the use and safety of the device. An effective stun gun is one that has a minimum of 700,000 volts and is equipped with rechargeable batteries.
  • Self-Defense Course: A self-defense course can teach you important skills that can help you avoid and even escape an attacker. Some colleges offer such courses on campus. A good self-defense course is one that is taught by an expert in their field, such as an active or retired police officer, military personnel, and other professionals with experience and special training in self-defense.

Secure Your Dorm Room

Whether you live in a tiny dorm room or share a spacious house or apartment off campus, you need more than standard locks to stay safe. The following are some security devices I recommend every college student get installed:

  • Basic Alarm System: An alarm that isn't monitored by an outside security vendor is better than no alarm. All-in-one alarm systems are now available to the general consumer at very affordable prices. They can be installed by the novice in 20 minutes or less. A quality alarm system is one that is equipped with an extremely loud siren, a remote panic button, and motion detection and glass break sensors.
  • Security Door Brace: Ensuring the main entry door of your dorm room, apartment, or home is secured is extremely important, as this is the most common entry point for criminals. A quality security door brace is a relatively inexpensive device that's easy to install. With such a device in place, it can make your door virtually impossible to break through, even by the heftiest of brutes. A quality door brace is one that withstand over 1700 pounds of force.

If You're Going to Drink, Drink Wisely

Alcohol is considered part of the college experience by many students. If you fall into this group, it's important to be aware of the dangers involved and how to protect yourself, especially if you're a woman.

All it takes is for someone to slip a drug into your drink when you're not looking for you to become physically and mentally debilitated, leaving you highly vulnerable to sexual assault, rape, and other crimes. To decrease your risk of this happening to you, follow these simple rules:

  • Never attend a party alone. Always bring a trusted friend or two (or more) with you.
  • Never accept a drink from a stranger or any other person you don't know well.
  • If you weren't able to watch the person make the beverage, don't drink it.
  • Always stay in contact with your drink. Never let your drink out of your sight.

Never Participate in a Hazing!

Simply put, hazing rituals are stupid. Many involve dangerous acts that can put your life or the life of others at risk. So don't involve yourself in them. If you know of someone else that's going to participate in one, report it to campus security—you just might save someone's life!

College is a time for learning and discovering what it means to be a responsible adult. Staying vigilant and taking responsibility for your security and safety is a great way to add to your positive college experience.

Sources: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. The Sexual Victimization of College Women.

Jordan Frankel, commonly known as The Security Sensei develops revolutionary security products and solutions that protect both lives & property. Countless agencies and corporations such as NASDAQ, the US Military, and law enforcement entrust Mr. Frankel with their security and safety. Jordan Frankel is also frequent media guest addressing the personal and financial consequences associated with home invasions, burglaries and other serious threats. In addition, Mr. Frankel's security products & inventions have been featured on Oprah, FOX news and in countless publications. Jordan's ability to outsmart the proverbial bad guys - coupled with his commitment to making security an affordable reality for everyone is the key to Global Security Experts Inc success. Mr. Frankel (The Security Sensei) is available for media interviews by appointment only.

Mr. Frankel is a proud member of:

The American Society for Industrial Security.

The International Association for Counter Terrorism & Security.

The Society of Professional Locksmiths.