Over the past year, it has become increasingly dangerous to be a college student in Atlanta. A rash of robberies and shootings, and even a murder, have plagued the campuses of Georgia Tech, Clark Atlanta, Spelman and Morehouse colleges. According to a recent AJC article, robberies are also up at Metro Atlanta campuses. Whether an exploding campus population or the declining economy is to blame, it is clear that Metro Atlanta college students are facing more danger than ever while simply trying to get an education.
Are you the parent of a Metro Atlanta college student? As I have mentioned here before at the MLN Law Blog, studies have shown that teenagers and college students may actually be hardwired to take risks. If you haven’t already, its time to have a talk with them about campus safety. Here are a few safety tips to stress to your children when preparing them for campus safety:
1.) Always be aware of your surroundings – Ditch the iPod and cell phone when walking on or around campus, especially in broad daylight
2.) Avoid walking alone, especially at night – Most college campuses will provide a police escort to a car or dorm during night time hours
3.) Make sure your cell phone is charged and ready to use – If your college student has trouble keeping his or her cell phone charged, consider investing in a portable charger. While it won’t charge the cell phone much, a portable charging device will at least allow your child to charge their phone enough to call for emergency services
4.) Tell family or friends if going somewhere with someone new – College is a time for meeting new friends. Be smart when getting in the car or leaving with strangers. They may not be who they seem to be
5.) Do not use drugs or alcohol – This is a sure way to lose control
6.) If you are being followed, change direction and head to a well-lit area
7.) Always lock your residence – Be sure to keep windows and doors closed and locked at all times, even if you have friends on the way over. Keep curtains and blinds closed at night to prevent anyone from seeing in.
8.) Do not prop open doors to dorms or apartments – While fishing for a key or pass card can be an annoyance, open doors are an invitation for predators or robbers
9.) Lock your vehicle and store valuables out of sight – College campuses are a favorite target for thieves. Students often have iPods, stereos, GPSs and laptop computers, all items that can be easily sold by thieves
10.) Keep your valuables near you – Do not let your book bag, laptop, purse or other valuables out of your site. Be especially vigilant in common areas such as the student union, cafeteria and library
The uptick in Atlanta crime has bled over to college campuses. Discuss these important safety tips with your kids and keep them safe to learn and grow.