Staying Safe in College and University

Alt text: A mother helps a young woman move into a new university dorm

With the back-to-school season, many students will be starting or continuing their post-secondary education. And your personal safety and the security of your possessions are things that you shouldn’t take lightly.

Taking precautions to help protect against theft, damage and injury should always be top of mind as you go about your campus. This will allow you to enjoy your post-secondary school experience with fewer worries, so you can focus on the things that matter most.

Consider these simple tips to help keep your mind (and your parents’ minds) at ease.

How Can I Protect Myself When Away at School?

Multiracial group of happy students talking and having fun after the lecture at campus.

Whether you plan to live on or off campus, there are many actions you can take to ensure that you are protecting yourself.

  • Familiarize Yourself With Your Campus. During the day, spend some time exploring your campus and its surroundings. Identify areas where you can turn to in the event of an emergency. Many campuses will have Blue Light Emergency Phones that will allow you to alert security if you feel threatened. Consult your campus map to know where they can be found.
  • Always Keep Your Phone Fully Charged and Make Sure to Always Have it on You. Add your campus security and other emergency phone numbers to your contact list so you can be ready to make a call if needed.
  • Use the Buddy System When Going Out in the Evening. If you’re unable to find someone to walk with, many colleges and universities will offer buddy services to help people get around campus.
  • Alert Your Friends or Roommate if You Plan on Leaving. Always let your friends or roommates know where you’re going and when you’ll be back. If you’re an iOS user, you’ll be happy to know that Apple will be introducing Check In in the fall of 2023 that will notify a family member or friend that they have made it to their destination safely.
  • Walk in well-lit areas and avoid shrubbery or any places where assailants could hide.
  • Do Not Leave Your Drinks Unattended. If you’re at a party or event, always keep your drinks with you. If you leave it unattended, throw it away; it can be easy to spike a drink without you knowing it.
  • Be Aware of Your Surroundings. Even if you’re listening to music with headphones, be aware of your surroundings whenever traveling. If you’re about to enter your car, look around the area and check to see that your vehicle has not been tampered with.
  • Trust Your Gut. If you feel like you’re in an unsafe environment, and your intuition is telling you to leave – trust your gut. If you can leave, be sure to find a public area with many people and call upon a friend to come and get you. If you’re in immediate danger call 911.

How Can I Protect My Stuff When Away at School?

Student sat at desk in bedroom looking at phone

For those who plan on living away from home, the following tips could help protect your personal belongings.

  • Consider Insurance. It’s never too early to consider getting insurance to help protect your belongings. If you’re renting a room or apartment off campus, speak with an insurance provider about tenant insurance. As a student, you may be covered under a Student Insurance Plan under your parents’ home insurance policy.
  • Review Your Current Insurance Coverage. Even if you have tenant insurance, some high-valued items (like musical instruments, laptops or bicycles) may require an additional add-on to provide replacement value coverage that is higher than limits with a standard home insurance policy. If you’re taking a car out of the province, check with your insurance company to ensure you’re properly covered. You should also contact the province’s transportation department to see if a change of driver’s licence or license plate is necessary.
  • Don’t Leave Valuables in Your Car, Especially in Plain Sight. Put high value items in the trunk or glove compartment where they can’t be seen.
  • Never Abandon Your Laptop. It only takes a few moments for someone to grab it.  Invest in a laptop lock to act as a deterrent against thieves, or better yet, keep it with you if you’re going to get a cup of coffee or take a bathroom break.
  • Always Lock Your Doors and Windows to Prevent Breaking and Entering. Even if you plan on leaving your place for a few minutes, ensure that all windows and doors are locked and properly secured.
  • Do Not Open the Doors to Any Strangers. If you live on campus, you might find people consistently coming and going through residence. As a rule of thumb, do not allow people you don’t know into the building – even if they ask. If they are meeting someone, then have that someone let them in, otherwise for your safety – and everyone else’s – do not let them in.
  • Always Keep Your Student Card on You. Student cards can typically act as more than identification. Meal plans and library accounts are often tied to them, so make sure you keep your card secure and if it’s lost, report it immediately.
  • Be Smart on Social Media. If you plan on leaving your dorm or apartment, be mindful of what you post. Some people will see that you are not home and use that as an opportunity to break-in.

While this list may not be extensive, consider it as a starting point. Your school may offer more tips to learn how you can protect yourself on campus. Be sure to contact your campus security for more information.

Disclaimer: This information and the websites referenced are provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as providing legal or insurance advice. Allstate does not control or guarantee the accuracy of any content on any third-party site.  Allstate is not responsible for the privacy practices of any third-party site.