Life on a college campus can feel pretty safe — and for the most part, it is. Security admin at nearly every college are focused on providing safe transportation and student protection 24/7. But that doesn’t mean you are immune to danger when walking alone or heading back to your dorm late at night.
That’s why we asked these self-defense and safety experts from around the world to share their best self-defense tips for college students.
Remember these seven tips to stay safe on campus.
1. Confidence can save your life.
“Confident posture can deter a threat. Self-assured posture and movement tell a lot about you. Multiple studies have shown the way you walk has an effect on how likely you are to get mugged. Confident self-awareness increases your ability to detect threats when you’re walking alone. By keeping your head up and aware of your surroundings, you can take away the element of surprise — a common tactic of attackers. If confronted, calmly and assertively saying a simple command such as “BACK OFF,” is often enough to put a potential attacker to flight. ”
-Jill Turner, ROBOCOPP
2. Be cautious about what you post on social media.
“Posting where you are going to be alerts bad guys. If you’re leaving your apartment or home, it may be a signal that it’s empty. If you say you’re staying in to watch a movie with a bottle of wine, it alerts bad guys that you’re alone. If you have enemies, it alerts them to where you’re going to be.”
–John Graden, BestSelfDefenseTool.com
3. Learn to spot and avoid potentially dangerous situations.
“The first goal of self-defense is to keep danger at a distance. That means, you want to know the potential threat exists BEFORE it is 3 inches in front of your face. So the first lesson is how to assess an individual to determine if they appear to be a threat based on how agitated or uncomfortable they appear.
If they appear dominant or uncomfortable, your next immediate response should always be to get to safety, which could be simply crossing the street, turning around (depending on how far away the individual(s) is from you, or any other course of action that keeps the potential threat distant.”
-Benjamin Drader, Founder/Chief Instructor, District Combatives
4. Always be aware — on and near campus.
“Since college students are often young and naïve, and campuses are large and have various unsecured entrances and escape routes, colleges tend to be prime locations for assaults. It is extremely important for students and faculty alike to understand the potential dangers, which do not stop at the college border, and be prepared with self-defense and general awareness in mind while walking on campus, especially alone at night.”
-Coach Jeremy Pollack, Self Defense Security Expert, Home Security Super Store
5. Know the people you’re spending time with.
“There’s nothing different about crime prevention for college students versus the general public. Most violent crime happens with people you know and when you are alone. Picking carefully who you associate with and always being with other people will prevent the majority of violent crimes.”
-Leonard Sipes, Jr., Founder, CrimeinAmerica.net
6. Keep your load that you carry as light as possible.
“Don’t carry too much in your arms at once. It’s easy to grab a purse or phone when your hands are occupied already with large packages or a bunch of bags. ”
-Ken Beckstead, Martial Artist
7. Avoid wearing scarves or hoods.
“Wear clothing that cannot be used against you while you are out. Long scarves can be pulled from behind causing choking and panic and later can be used to tie you up. Only wear scarves if you are attending a private event or will be with others. Never alone.”
-Khadi Madama, Self-defense and Environmental Awareness for Safety Specialist
About Jessica Thiefels: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a lifestyle blogger. She’s written for Reader’s Digest, AARP, CollegeRaptor, Shape and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 for more college safety and health tips.