It’s hard for parents to watch their children take those first major steps toward adulthood. One of the most anxious times in a parent’s life is when they send their teenager off to college for the first time. While most parents make sure their college-bound freshmen have all the material necessities to succeed, including furniture, clothing and computers, quite often they neglect to discuss something that is equally important for success and happiness in adulthood — personal safety.
Action Locksmith is a family owned and operated locksmith business that wants to make sure more than just your home and business are secure.
While college campuses may seem like safe havens, during 2017 there were 27,048 on-campus criminal incidents reported to police and security agencies.1 Those campus crime statistics reveal that about 95.5 percent of the crimes reported were property crimes, with most being larceny-thefts.2 We can’t stress enough the importance of secure doorlocks and doors.
Here are some safety tips that the whole family will benefit from:
Tip #1 – Be aware of your campus crime situation.
Most colleges and universities have campus security offices which provide information on crimes on campus. The University of Michigan Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS), for example, maintains a daily crime and fire log on their website as well as providing an annual Security and Fire Safety Report.3 In addition, the DPSS sends out about 15 crime alerts per year via email to all students, staff , faculty and subscribers, as well as posting information on the DPSS website, Twitter account and through flyers on campus.
Tip #2 – Lock your doors and windows.
Since larceny-thefts comprise the majority of campus crimes it may seem obvious that locking doors and windows goes a long way in preventing crimes of opportunity. Unfortunately statistics reveal that almost 40 percent of college students don’t lock their dorm doors when they leave.4 Windows are also an issue, especially first-floor windows. While all windows should be locked at all times, about a quarter of home burglaries happen through first floor windows.5
Tip #3 – Secure your computer and other valuables at all times.
It is important to make sure that valuables, such as computers and jewelry, are secure at all times. A small safe may provide enough of a deterrent that a burglar will move on to look for easier items to carry and hide while leaving a dorm or apartment area. Electronic laptop safes, some with security cables, range in cost from $79 to $269 for one with biometric fingerprint lock security. A security camera may also be a good investment, but be sure to check your state and university policies as there are laws, rules and regulations on security cameras and audio recordings. These laws are designed to protect privacy.
Tip #4 – Safeguard your phone and tablet
Smartphone theft is on the rise and most smartphone thefts occur at restaurants and other places where smartphone and tablet owners are distracted. That is why it is essential to protect your smartphone or tablet with a screen lock and/or strong password. There are free or low cost apps which you can install on your phone or tablet which enable you to remotely track and remotely delete or wipe data from your phone. These include the free Prey app (https://preyproject.com/) and DriveStrike, (https://drivestrike.com/how-to-remotely-wipe-phone/) which costs $15 annually per device.
If your phone or tablet is lost or stolen, you need to act quickly to protect your data, including photos, videos, email, banking information, your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts and other sensitive data that may be on the phone or tablet. If you haven’t installed a security app like Prey or DriveStrike on your phone, notify your cellular carrier to find out if you, or they, are able to remotely wipe the data from your phone.
The cellular carrier will be able to disable the phone so the phone can’t be used, but that doesn’t protect the data. Immediately change the passwords on all your online accounts, with the first priority being to reset the password on the internet browser you use most frequently (Google, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, etc.)6 You should also file a police report as soon as possible.
Tip #5 – Be Smart and Stay Aware When Going Out
It is believed that sexual assaults are under-reported on college campuses. If you can walk with a friend, do so. If that is not possible, stay on designated pathways and in well-lit areas, especially at night. If your campus has emergency call stations, know where they are. You may be able to download a campus safety app, like CampusSafe or EmergenSee, which will allow you to simply tap a button on your phone to alert emergency personnel of trouble.7
Non-lethal personal security items, such as a whistle or pepper spray, can also thwart a potential attack. Above all, stay aware of your surroundings. Do not be distracted by phone calls or music piped in through ear buds. When you go out, carry some emergency cash and your emergency contact information. Always go to a bar or club with a friend and always leave together. Don’t accept a ride home from a stranger and always stay sober enough to be in control.
Many of these tips apply to all situations, even for adults who are not attending college classes. Spending a bit of time up front thinking about your security and implementing safety improvements and behaviors can save you, and your college-bound freshman, from becoming a victim in the future.
If you want to reevaluate or bring the security of your home up to date, Action Locksmith can help. Our technicians can provide a detailed survey of your house’s security and provide a plan of action. From re-keying to door repair and installation, keyless entry and camera systems, our locksmith company does it all. We specialize in both residential and commercial locksmith services as well as provide 24-hour Emergency Service. Call us to learn more about how we can help your home or business!