Stay safe on campus

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Recently there have been attacks on university campuses in San Diego and it is important to know some safety techniques.  Unfortunately the majority of these incidents involve women, but there is no need to be paranoid.

As long as you play it smart, be aware of the surroundings and know the signs of a potentially dangerous situation, there is no need to dress up like Rambo in order to appear as a badass to ward away criminals.  Here are some quick tips when it comes to walking around or on and off campus.

1.Know the right numbers:

Keep those digits handy (Photo from 'Samantha Celera' via Flickr)

Keep those digits handy (Photo from 'Samantha Celera' via Flickr)

Make sure to keep the numbers of school police in your cell phone in case of an emergency.  Having the number for campus police on speed dial is the best way to go.  It may sound silly but if a situation occurs there will be no time to scroll through an address book looking for the number.  Especially if you can’t talk, just dialing the number can allow police to hear what is going on and possible use the cell phone as a tracking device to locate where you are.

It’s important to know the number to campus police and not just 911.  Campus police will be able to assist much faster and they normally work within a couple of miles of the campus.  So even being off campus but in the area, campus police can help.

Almost, if not all universities also offer escort services after dark for students who don’t want to walk by themselves.  It’s always a good idea to walk with friends, but if they’re not available and you need to go to the library at 1 a.m. to finish a paper, having a security escort can make the walk more comfortable and less stressful.  Plus, it can make you look like a celebrity.

2. Keep your keys by your side:

Photo from 'mynameisharsha' via Flickr

Photo from 'mynameisharsha' via Flickr

If you’re walking to your car, always make sure you have keys out and ready to unlock the door.  On some occasions, females can be an easy attack if it’s dark and their standing outside of their car fumbling around in their purse for keys.  Many criminals wait for people to be preoccupied with something else in order to catch them off guard and make their move.  Pulling out your keys before heading out to your car only takes a few seconds and it is well worth the extra step.

Keys can also be used as a defense mechanism.  Many female defense courses suggest holding the bulk of your keys in your hand while having one key sticking out through the ring and middle finger.  If an attacker comes and being defensive is necessary, having a key poking through your fingers can hurt them and hopefully make them flee.

3. Dial up your friends:

If walking only is the only option, use your cell phone to call friends.  By talking on the phone it shows potential criminals someone knows what your doing.  Tell them where you are, where you’re going, what direction you’re heading in, and how long it should take you to get where you need to go. Again, this may sound silly but if anything happens and calling police is impossible, at least someone knows where you are and call police with all the information.

If it’s late at night and there are no friends available to talk to, fake it.  Just walking down the street appearing to talk on the phone makes you a less likely victim because criminals don’t want someone else knowing what they’re doing.  Plus since your cell phone is already out, calling the police in a potential situation is only one button away.

keep your arms free when walking ( Photo by LaMenta3 via Flickr)

keep your arms free when walking ( Photo by LaMenta3 via Flickr)

4. Keep your hands free:

If walking at night or alone make sure to keep your hands clear of anything but keys.  Having books, bags or anything clunky can give a disadvantage if someone wants to harass you because your arms and hands won’t be readily available.  Take the time to put everything in a backpack or a shoulder bag before leaving.

Plus having all belongings in one bag can make it easier to pull it off for running away or used as a defensive technique.  Swinging a bag at someone full of schoolbooks can really leave a mark.  This doesn’t mean you should carry around every book you own in case something happens, it just something to keep in mind when walking to and from campus.

5. Learn new techniques

Photo from 'jennratonmort' via Flickr

Photo from 'jennratonmort' via Flickr

Probably the best way to stay safe is to look into self-defense courses.  Many schools and cities are aware of this kind of potential danger and in most cases offer free courses.  They not only teach the skills needed to be defensive, but also how to be more aware of the surrounding and what to do in certain situations.

These classes will not only show the right moves, but they also make for a great workout.  Staying fit and healthy can also help if the time comes to be defensive.  Even if defense courses are not available, taking other classes such a boxing or karate are great ways to stay in shape and know some maneuvers if a serious situation arises.

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