According to data gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 28,400 crimes happen on college campuses around the country every year.
12,000 of these crimes are burglaries, nearly 9,000 of them are sexual assaults, and 3,500 are car thefts. Other common college campus crimes include aggravated assaults, hate crimes, stalking, and threats.
You’re incredibly excited for the new year of college to begin, but you also want to make sure you’re aware of how to stay safe on campus.
This post is here to help.
In it, we’ll give you some of our top UC Davis college campus safety tips. We’ll also fill you in on how you can find safe off-campus housing that gives you a strong sense of security, privacy, and independence — while making sure you’re still fully connected to on-campus life.
1. Go with Your Gut
Trusting your instincts is the first tip on our list of how to stay safe on your college campus for good reason.
Far too often, people ignore or try to downplay it when they feel like something isn’t quite right. Call them the creep-crawlies, a bad feeling, or even just a heightened sense of awareness — these are your survival instincts kicking in, and usually, they’re right on the money.
If you feel like a party has suddenly changed in tone, if you get a sense that the empty parking lot in front of you looks a little ominous, or even if you get bad vibes about a person your friend is with or who has joined your group, listen to yourself.
Then, you can decide whether it’s best to leave the situation, ask the other person to go, or ask someone to help you (like walking you to your car.)
2. Get to Know Campus Safety and Security
The good news is that your college campus is often just as invested in your safety as you are.
Especially thanks to the recent headlines surrounding the increase in sexual assaults and hate crimes on campuses, they know that students are also more aware of what can happen on college campuses than ever before.
Today’s colleges are committed to providing their students with as many safety resources as possible — and you should certainly take advantage of them (after all, your tuition money is funding these efforts.)
You should know the location of the campus safety office, its hours, and ensure that its contact numbers(530-754-COPS) are stored in your phone. Get to know the security guards on campus and where they are usually stationed.
Additionally, many college security offices offer safety workshops in addition to preventative workshops. Attend them with a group of your friends and make an evening out of it.
Now is also the time to familiarize yourself with any kinds of safety maps that include the locations of college safe zones and extra security. These maps may also note where blue light emergency phones are located, so you can make an emergency call if you’ve been robbed or if your cellphone has died.
Finally, one of the best things about a UC Davis college security office is that it offers safe ride services and you can download the new TapRide app Here https://police.ucdavis.edu/safe-rides.
If you need to take a train to work, park your car in a larger lot or garage, or even get from one building to another, University of California, Davis has an app for that!
3. Have a Codeword with Friends
In some cases, you may be in a situation on your college campus where you can’t extract yourself from a situation.
Maybe someone just won’t leave you alone at a party, maybe you’re on a date and start to feel like something is off, or perhaps you’ve just had a bit too much to drink and don’t think you’re in the right frame of mind.
You don’t want to draw attention to yourself more by saying you need to leave — and it may not be safe for you to announce your intentions.
Therefore, you should always have some sort of a codeword or phrase with your friend group.
When you text this codeword, they’ll know to call you immediately, come and pick you up, or help you to get safely home from a party with a friend you trust to have your best interests at heart.
A codeword isn’t awkward and can easily be slipped into casual conversation. Plus, even if you never end up needing to use it, just having one at all offers great peace of mind.
4. Choose Your Apartment Carefully
One of the most important things you need to think about when you’re heading off to college is where you’ll live.
Sure, you want to be around friends and have an easy commute to classes.
But especially if you already have problems with certain people on campus — or if you just prefer a bit of peace and quiet to get your work done — getting your own student apartment is a wonderful option.
It’s often much more affordable than you might expect, especially given the enormous increase in the costs of room and board for dorm rooms that are tiny and leave students miserable.
You can still live with roommates, but this time, you’ll get your own room.
Plus, student apartment complexes are served by Unitrans provide free UCD Student transportation 7 days a week to and from your university, which means you’ll be able to get to and from classes and other on-campus events safely.
Living off-campus gives you a sense of independence as well as increased security. Often, you’ll benefit from things like well-lit biking and walking paths, security cameras, stronger locks on the doors, and much more.
5. Make Your Own Safety Kit
Although we hope you never have to use any kind of personal college safety kit, having one prepared can help to give you peace of mind.
Your safety kit can include things like pepper spray, scissors, a whistle, an alarm button, a flashlight, and yes, even a stun gun. Remember that there are also plenty of self-defense tools disguised to look like everyday items, like a cellphone case or even a tube of lip balm.
We also suggest that you order a standard first aid kit and leave it in the trunk or backseat of your car just in case. You can also toss a few smaller things from your first aid and safety kits into your backpack.
After all, even if the worst thing that happens is that your friend gets a minor cut or bee sting, they’ll still be grateful you have supplies to give them relief.
6. Take a Self-Defense Class
You’ve likely thought about taking a self-defense class long before you arrived at college, and you may have even taken some kinds of martial arts classes as a kid.
Why not update your education by enrolling in a local self-defense class? You can choose to take a singular class or sign up for an ongoing self-defense course.
Taking a self-defense class doesn’t just help you to feel safe and empowered. It’s also amazing and fun exercise and gives you the chance to meet new people. We love the idea of signing up with a group of your friends.
You’ll be able to learn to protect yourself, work up a sweat, and relieve some frustration all at the same time.
7. Consider How You Use Social Media
Remember that learning how to stay safe on your college campus isn’t just about what happens in the “real world.”
While we know everyone loves showing off and sharing on social media, you also need to think about the kind of information you’re putting out there.
Are you posing with expensive jewelry, watches, handbags, and cars? Sure, they might help get you tons of “likes,” but they’ll also increase your likelihood of getting robbed.
The same goes for your vacation and even your party pictures.
When thieves know you’re not home, whether for a few days or just for the night, they’re much more likely to come calling.
Stay smart on social media — and leave some things to the imagination!
8. Know Your College Town
While of course, the UC Davis campus is considered City of Davis by most people, it is actually State of California owned and serviced by separate sets of Police, Fire Departments. Etc. Davis and UCD are separate but next to each other. However, you’ll certainly be spending a lot of time in your college town because there are so much more to do and better food and Shopping in the City of Davis.
As such, it makes sense to look at crime rates and recent criminal activity in your college town. You should also get to know which areas are more dangerous than others, and where local police departments are located and how to contact the Davis Police Department.
Just as you might identify safe spaces on your college campus, also make sure you know safe areas with security guards and law enforcement officers present in your college town.
9. Lock Your Doors
Whether you want to keep your apartmentt or your college dorm safe, the simplest thing to remember is to lock your door — yes, even if you’re just quickly running downstairs to grab your laundry or pick up notes from a classmate.
You never know who is watching and might be waiting for an opportunity to break in and steal things, or much worse.
Don’t be among the 7% of Americans who don’t bother to lock their doors.
It’s unfortunate, but it’s not realistic to depend on the kindness of strangers — and not smart to make yourself an easy target by literally providing criminals with an open door.
10. Intervene in the Safest Possible Way
Sometimes, it’s not just your own safety that you need to take into consideration when you’re on a college campus.
You also may want to consider how you might respond if you see someone who is clearly in a tricky situation, or even someone who is being harassed or involved in a confrontation.
You want to step in and help, but you also don’t want to put yourself at risk.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to interfere in a safe way.
First, if you can, ask the person if they need help or if they’d like to walk with you to your car or apartment. This is a great way to remove them from the situation peacefully — especially if you also have other friends with you.
Sometimes, people who are being harassed or even who are especially drunk may not be able to advocate for themselves because they’re too scared or out of control. They just need someone to lend them a hand.
You can also observe the scene from a safe distance and alert campus safety officials on your phone. Instead of physically intervening, yell from a distance that you’re contacting the police or campus security, or tell the person causing the issue to stop.
Feel Safer on Your College Campus with These Tips
We know that no one likes to think about the potential safety risks or crimes associated with life on a college campus. The good news is that crime is still relatively rare during college, and that, if you follow tips like these, there are lots of different ways to avoid being victimized.
Are you interested in living in an off-campus apartment next year?
If so, then check out our site to learn about the places you could call home.
Also, be sure to check out our blog for advice on things like eating healthy, moving into your first apartment, and even the most effective ways to study for a test.
Are you ready to make next year your best one ever — and finally have your own place to call home?
If so, get in touch with us today to learn more about our incredible student apartment options.