Most likely, this is your student's first time, out on his or her own, in a new environment. Start a dialogue with your student about important safety measures and what new precautions they might need to learn while living in their new environment.
Here are some quick tips on staying safe:
- Let your student know it is important to be diligent in locking up valuables, and to be aware of surroundings. Do not leave belongings unattended. It is easy for someone to pick up a laptop in the library and walk off with it.
- Remind your student to identify and store safety resource numbers in their phone so they can be prepared in the case of an emergency.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
- Personal safety is paramount. Talk to your student about creating a plan to get home safely by taking well-lit walkways (instead of dark shortcuts), walking home with friends and reminding your student to notify someone when they arrive home safely.
- Encourage your student to invest in a heavy-duty bike lock. Bikes are often a hot commodity on college campuses, especially if the bike was expensive.
- If your student goes to a party, remind them to never take drinks or food from people they don't know.
- Leave unnecessary valuables at home. Expensive technology left in cars or in homes with open windows or dorm rooms with open doors, might be an enticing invitation for unwelcome visitors.
- Your student should know the rules about use of fire within their place of residence. Most residence halls do not allow any type of open flame, including candles. If candles are permitted, ensure that they are placed safely in a room away from items that could catch fire.
- Ask your student about an escape plan in their place of residence. Make sure your student knows the route to evacuate their building or home.
- Finally, encourage your student to step up and report any suspicious behavior. Talk to them about Good Samaritan Laws that protect citizens who report or try to help another citizen in distress. Talk to your student about being a good community member and helping out others when in need.