Staying Safe While Living Alone

You’ve checked off every item on your college-must-have shopping list, ordered your textbooks and planned out which extracurriculars you want to get involved in. You’re ready to go to campus and get that first taste of independence you’ve been waiting for all your life. But with independence comes high responsibility. 

Once the excitement of university wears off, you’ll get in a routine and forget about the time that you lived under the close watch of your parents. However, that doesn’t mean you can go wild and forget about your safety. The harsh reality is that no hovering parents mean less protection from crimes of the world. 

Universities have their own safety precautions to keep their students safe, but ultimately this is a matter that should be taken into your own hands. It’s all too easy to live by the motto that ‘it won’t happen to me’, but realistically odds of being burgled can be as high 1 in 14 in crime-ridden cities. Additionally, approximately 93 people are assaulted in their own home each hour. 

These statistics aren’t meant to scare you out of going off to college, but they’re good to know for preventative measures. Just because you’re in the bubble of your university doesn’t mean your immune from the horrible crime statistics. 

Sexual assault, motor vehicle crimes, and burglary are among the most prevalent crimes on college campuses. Colleges are required to publicly report their crime statistics, though many argue that they are under-reported making these numbers even higher than they appear. 

Crimes are not always perpetrated by dangerous strangers. It could be your very own peers that pose a threat to safety. The high saturation of drugs and alcohol in the college scene can make people lose control and make decisions that don’t necessarily reflect their character. 

The best way to combat this is knowing how to keep yourself safe if you end up in an unsafe situation. While you can take the obvious preventative measures like locking your door, you should also know how to react if necessary, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

The biggest thing you can do to protect yourself is: always have a plan. Know the best way to alert emergency contacts if needed – whether it’s using the safety features on your phone or finding the closest blue light button. 

Be comfortable in your surroundings and never venture out to a place you could get lost in during the dark alone. You honestly should never be walking in the dark alone, but walking from a night class home is different than drunkenly stumbling along an unknown street after a party. Never put yourself in a situation that people could take advantage of you in. 

College is an extremely fun time where you’ll learn a lot about yourself and living alone. There’s no need to be paranoid over every little thing, but you should do everything in your power to make sure crime doesn’t put a damper on the best four years of your life.

Remember that everyone around you is going through the same challenges you are, so use your roommates and peers as a backbone of support when navigating living alone.

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