A recent Education Department report reveals that although campus crime decreased slightly over the last decade, the number of reported sex crimes increased by more than 50 percent from 2001 to 2011.
Thankfully, a handful of brilliant technologies have been developed with safety and security in mind. Whether your child is a college student prepping for freshman year or embarking on senior year, encourage them to take advantage of these six innovative offerings.
1. Discover your campus crime statistics report.
The Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education offers the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool, a fabulous resource for discovering campus crime data. Simply enter a college name, and in moments you’ll know what campus crimes are most often reported. Armed with this knowledge, students can take precautionary measures to protect themselves from frequently committed crimes. The site also allows you to compare crime statistics from several colleges, which could be helpful if your student is considering transferring.
2. Download a personal safety app.
Personal safety apps, like iHelp Plus, may help give students a sense of comfort when walking back to the dorms at night or heading to a friend’s house off campus. If students find themselves in a dangerous situation, they can use the app to alert a designated family member or a friend with the touch of the phone’s screen. The app also offers audible, silent, and delayed alerts, plus the opportunity to store important medical information. A handy flashlight button adds to the app’s safety features. The basic version of iHelp Plus is free, and additional safety services and monitoring are available for $6.99 per month.
3. Consider a portable wireless alarm.
Simple to install, a wireless portable alarm can help protect a door, window, or even a desk drawer. Best yet, a student can bring it along when travelling and a wireless remote makes it easy to arm or disarm the system.
4. Purchase and install a wireless security system.
A number of reputable home security companies now offer wireless security systems. Wireless security systems are perfect for college students because, in addition to being easy to install, they are surprisingly affordable and a cinch to pack up and move when the school year ends. Bonus: Wireless alarms are often considered more secure than wired systems because they can’t be disabled by cutting wires.
5. Use a GPS tracking app.
GPS tracking apps, like StaySafe Personal Safety Tracker, can help authorities reach students quickly during an emergency. If he or she doesn’t check in by a predetermined time, the app sends an email or text message to specified emergency contacts and provides a GPS location.
In addition to personal safety, GPS tracking can also help students find lost or stolen property. Before heading off to college, students should download one or more of these popular property tracking apps.
6. Invest in security hardware.
Parents should visit any off campus houses or apartments before their child moves in to identify any vulnerable entry points, such as sliding glass doors and windows. In addition to arming doors and windows with home security sensors, you should consider fortifying them with sliding door bar locks, widow bars and other affordable DIY security hardware. You may also want to find out what crimes take place in the neighborhood by using CrimeMapping.com or one of these helpful online tools.
While no safety or security technology is guaranteed to keep students safe, these six solutions may help reduce the chance of them falling victim to any campus crimes.
Written by Alexia Chianis
Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics. Learn more