More than 50% of college sexual assaults occur in August, September, October, or November, according to a study published in the Journal of American College Health. Alcohol is just one risk factor on campus but one that can’t be ignored because of its prevalence. Students are excited to be back on campus, throwing reunion parties before buckling down to work. It’s football season for many schools, which means weekends are spent tailgating. Late nights studying can also result in students walking back to their dorm or apartment alone. Even a walk or jog during your free time can put your safety at risk if done in a remote area.
The personal safety experts at Krav Maga Worldwide prepare men and women of all ages, even children, teaching them to be situationally aware and safer in any environment. They also provide self-defense training to over 1,000 US law enforcement agencies and military units. Here are five personal safety methods they recommend for college students.
Related: Top Campus Safety Tips
1. Be trackable
Leave a physical and digital trail of your destination when you head out on your own. Leave a note in your dorm or apartment stating when you are leaving, where you are going, who you might be going with, and when you plan on returning. You can also download an app that informs family and friends of your location. Many have an emergency SOS feature you can activate if you encounter trouble.
2. Put your head on a swivel
Don’t walk around campus with your head down. You should stay aware of who and what is around you at all times. Naturally look to your left, right, and over your shoulders on occasion to get a full view of who is around you and what is happening. Also, to remain aware of your environment, avoid texting while walking. If you have to text, it’s preferable you stop, put your back against a wall (to reduce your “domain of danger”), then type and send your text.
Related: 6 Ways to Stay Safe on Your Way to Night Classes
3. Make eye contact
When you cross paths with another person, look that person in the face and make eye contact. Let them know you have seen them and will remember what he or she looks like. This can deter someone with negative intentions because in an unplanned attack, they want an unsuspecting victim who they will be anonymous to, not someone who knows their face.
4. Turn down the tunes
Music is a great motivator during a workout, but if you’re walking or running with your music on high volume, it’s easy to miss what is happening around you. Keep your music volume at a level where you can hear if someone is approaching you on foot, on a bike, or in a vehicle.
Related: How to Stay Safe on Your College Campus
5. Go hands-free
Someone walking on campus with their arms full of books, a phone in hand, and other gear or devices encumbering their ability to move is an easy target. Having your hands and arms full of items makes it hard to fight back, and people with bad intentions will be looking for an easy victim like this. It’s best to keep everything in your bag and your eyes open.