Does Your College Protect Your Safety On Campus?
Many people think of college as a safe haven for self-exploration, learning, and fun. College can be all of those things—but crimes are not unknown on college campuses. Assault, rape, and murder all happen—and while some colleges excel at protecting their students, others don’t do enough.
Here are a few things to look for if you’re concerned about campus safety.
Well-lit routes all over campus
There should always be a safe and fast route back to your dorm that’s well lit—whether from the library, a party, the dining hall, or most other places on campus. When visiting a college, look for lamps to light the way along both populated and not-so-populated walkways at night.
Blue light emergency call boxes
College should be a safe and secure place to explore, learn, and have fun. Unfortunately, however, the real world isn’t always a safe place—and that applies to college campuses as well as anywhere else.
A history of fully supporting student rape and assault prosecutions
Unfortunately, many online colleges respond to a violent or sex crime that happens on campus by stonewalling—failing to report the crime to authorities in a timely manner, encouraging the victim not to seek prosecution, and generally doing everything they can to keep the crime from making news. These practices are in the best interests of the school, not the students. And unfortunately, some colleges have botched internal handling of rape and other assault cases—often allowing the perpetrator to return to campus while the victim is still attending classes.
If possible, look for instances in a college’s history where the college has handled a violent crime well—allowing for fast prosecution and appropriate consequences for the crime. You’ll want to attend a college that looks out for your best interests in such a worst-case scenario—not its own.
A key card system for all campus buildings
Campus buildings should not be open to the general public. There should be a key card system that allows only students with the right card to enter a building. Of course, these systems are not perfect—it is frequently possible for people without authorization to enter a building behind a student with a key card, or to be let in by a well-meaning student. The distance education colleges should work to educate students about avoiding inadvertently facilitating a crime—and the dangers of letting someone in without the right card.
A camera surveillance system
Camera surveillance systems can do a lot to deter crime—and make sure criminals get caught quickly. Colleges with comprehensive, campus-wide surveillance systems have frequently been able to stop crimes before they happen and catch perpetrators before they leave campus—or quickly afterward. When touring a college, ask about the surveillance system.
A solid security presence
Do security officers patrol the campus regularly? Do you see them frequently both at night and during the day, both near populated areas and in the more secluded areas of campus? A strong security presence can do a lot to deter crime on college campuses before it starts.
College should be a safe and secure place to explore, learn, and have fun. Unfortunately, however, the real world isn’t always a safe place—and that applies to college campuses as well as anywhere else. If you’re going to a campus-based college, it’s essential to pay attention to security measures—and evaluate those as you would any other aspects of college that are important to you.
EverydayHealth.com: Campus Safety, Common Sense
Distance-Education.org: Sexual Assault on Campus: Why You Can’t Necessarily Trust Your School
Readers’ Digest: Is Your College Student Safe at School?
Cosmopolitan.com: Protect Yourself from Rape on College Campuses
More About College Basics
- How to Stand Out in Your Online Class Discussions
- Payday Loans Go Online. Should You Check It Out? (Spoiler: No.)
- FICO's New Credit Score 9: How They Could Affect College Students
- The Corinthian College Debacle: What It Means for its Students
- How to Set Your Own Deadlines: Tips for Success
- The Affordable Care Act Deadline Passed. What Now?
- How to Ask for More Money From Your Student Aid Office: Without Seeming Entitled
- Six Homework Hacks That Make Studying Online Easier