Keeping Yourself Safe at Night

As much as we preach to avoid walking around at night, alone, in a dimly lit areas, sometimes you just happen to be in that situation. Maybe your phone died and everywhere nearby is closed. So what do you do?

1.) Admit you’re in a crappy situation. There’s no getting around it. Sometimes you just have to accept the fact that you could be in a better spot right at the moment. Here, I’ll give you an example.

A few weeks ago I visited San Francisco. I was going to do a photoshoot for a couple in a town about an hour south of San Fran, so I took a train to their town. The station closes at 10:30, so when I rode the train back I figured even though the trains were no longer running, at least I’d be able to sit at the station and wait for my ride.

However, being unfamiliar with the town, I got off at the wrong stop.  Bad move. There was no station, only the exit platform, in the middle of nowhere. There weren’t even streetlights. So here I am, completely lost walking through downtown San Francisco, in the dark while carrying a backpack full of expensive gear and a huge camera hung around my next. This, folks, is what one might call a “mugger’s dream”.

So I looked around and decided to act, quick.

2.) Think it through. Just waiting there for my ride wouldn’t have done me much good, so instead I walked to the nearest traffic light. By being in a more public and lit area you decrease your chances of being accosted. Plus, traffic lights are easy to find for someone coming to pick you up. It doesn’t matter what direction they come from, they just need to find that light.

3.) Have a way to defend yourself. Nowadays, there’s no excuse for not carrying some form of protection. At www.secureoncampus.com, we carry a variety of pepper sprays, including ones that even look like lipstick or perfume. We also carry personal alarms that give off a loud screeching sound as soon as you press the button. And no one likes breaking into a car when the alarm is going off…

4.) Learn from the situation. My lesson? Ask someone where you are before just getting off the train! Same goes for you if you ended up stranded after a midnight study session. Maybe everyone left the library and you thought the buses were still running but it turns out they stopped hours ago. When a friend offers you a ride, take it!

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

 

Keep Your Stuff From Getting Stolen Over Summer Break

One thing about college that we can all agree is a major downer, is the lack of privacy: privacy from our friends, our roommates and even authority figures, like our RAs. The truth is, hardly anything is private for a college student. In addition, anything remotely embarrassing or incriminating isn’t simply found and then laughed off, but most likely but online for all to see. You aren’t just protecting you and your stuff from your two roommates down the hall, but also from millions of people in the online community. So yes, you need some serious security measures. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered.

Keep your valuables safe. We’ve got plenty of dorm safes, dorm trunks and laptop safes at www.secureoncampus.com. However, just having a safe doesn’t necessarily mean you’re protected. You’ll want to place it somewhere that isn’t going to tempt everyone that walks by your room. Nothing says “I dare you to try and steal me” quite like a safe sitting in plain few in an open room. Use your head. At least put it somewhere that won’t tempt the drunk idiot that got lost between the 2nd and 3rd floor and is just looking for something stupid to do.

Set an alarm. Trust us, at some point or another, no matter how much you trust your roomie, someone will try to get into your room. It’s not the first time you should be worried about though. The first time they usually just need to borrow a pencil, or take back that calculator you borrowed from the night before. It’s later that they start borrowing clothes (or stealing clothes, depending on how well you both get along) and using your computer. In the course of three very short, stress inducing months, everything you own could literally be fair game.

An alarm lets people know when they’ve reached a limit. Honestly, not everyone means to snoop; it’s just slippery slope of confusing which side of the room is your own; a “what’s mine is yours” kind of syndrome. They don’t have to know the alarm is yours; let them believe it’s the school’s alarm that goes off when you try to force a locked door. That’ll show em’.

Stay updated. Ever heard of the Law of Entropy? It’s the theory that things left unattended will eventually move in the direction of chaos. Stacks of books will eventually fall over and photos will eventually fall off of your walls and onto the floor. You can’t just leave everything and expect it to be in the same condition as when you return. So have someone you trust check in from time to time. An RA perhaps, that already has your room key anyway. This will also deter people from thinking your place is completely deserted.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

How Well Do You Know Your Campus?

Every college campus in the United States has one very sad fact in common; there is at least one area that all students know to stay away from. Maybe it’s the one spot next to the gym building that the lights don’t quite hit. Maybe it’s the block that happens to share an alleyway with the local liquor store. Either way, these unsafe places aren’t usually something that’s advertised in your college’s orientation brochure. So how the heck do you find out the right and wrong route to take before you end up learning the hard way? By following these simple tips:

1.) Ask the right questions. You might be interested in a great place to go for a run or sit and clear your head, and the person you’re asking is going to tell you just that: where an amazing place is. However, they can’t guess where you will or won’t go from there. So ask about places you shouldn’t go as well. “Is there anywhere I should avoid? Why?” Then you’ll probably get an earful about that amazing running path just south of the library…and why you should only use it before 6:00 pm.

2.) Ask the right people. Let’s go back to the subject of the running path, shall we? If your friends have only ever seen pictures of the path, that’s not a very good source. Talk to someone that goes there regularly. Talk to campus police to see if they’ve had any reports or issues there.

And speaking of campus security, be sure to ask them the same questions as in the previous point; is there anywhere you shouldn’t be going? And don’t let them give you the classic cop-out of “well, just try not to walk around alone at night in dimly lit areas.” That’s common sense, everyone knows that. You want to know where the hot spots are around campus for unfavorable conditions. Where have most of the rapes or muggings occurred. If they don’t know, have them look it up. You can wait.

3.) Do your own research. In the end, word of mouth can only get you so far. So turn to your trusted friend Google to answer a few more of your questions. Look for newspaper articles or events/clubs. Sticking with our same example of the running path, look to see if there were any reported crimes in that area in the last few years. Then look to see if there is a running group that uses that path. Go to a safe place, at a safe time, with a group of other people and there you have it; you’ve now dramatically decreased your chances of ending up in a horrible situation.  

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

Safety Tips When Moving

Moving is hard work, and for most of us hiring a moving crew is probably out of the question. Sure we could get a few of our friends together and hope they’ll be happy to heavy furniture in various shapes and sizes up and down six flights of stairs, but the truth is they’d probably rather not. Plus, then what happens when your couch gets stuck and you have no real equipment or know-how to get it down to the moving van? Exactly. Not good.

So before you start loading everything you own into random boxes, let’s go over a few things that will keep you from injuring yourself in the process.

1.) Don’t overpack. Not because your boxes might explode later (that’s just annoying), but because you need to keep your boxes from weighing a million pounds. You should aim for each box weighing under 50 pounds. You should be able to lift each box without much strain. Think about it; when you’re moving upwards of 30 boxes in a day, the less weight you have to pick up each time you bend over is going to be very beneficial in the long run.

2.) Use the right equipment. Got something that is just too heavy to move? Use a dolly! Or straps! These things do not cost much money to rent and can save you invaluable time and stress in the moving process. This also helps move lighter items in multiples, saving even more time. Wouldn’t you rather make the process easier and move faster? Of course you would.

3.) Plan ahead. The route you take to the truck is more important than you think. Instead of walking all the way through your place, out the front door and down to the truck, what if you could just hand stuff out your back window to your friend in the alley? By planning ahead, you might be surprised how much work you can save yourself.

4.) Wear the right clothing and footwear. Not only will you be bending over a lot, you’ll also be climbing into truck beds and squishing yourself into tiny spaces. Your clothes should be comfortable, but it’s also important that they’re relatively form fitting. You don’t want your shirt getting snagged going through a doorway with your hands full. Plus, having a 40 lb box fall on your toes when you’re wearing nothing but sandals certainly isn’t going to feel very good.

5.) Know when you’re outmatched. There are some things you just aren’t going to be able to move on your own (or things that you really, really shouldn’t attempt to move on your own). If you’ve got a piano sitting in your living room, you need to call a professional. Not only could you risk injuring yourself, but you also risk damaging your property, and what’s the point in moving a bunch of damaged property to a new location?

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

Safety Tips in a New Town

Moving, while stressful, can actually be pretty excited. It’s almost like a clean slate, in a way. But while moving may be quite exciting (all the new restaurants to try and activities to do), it can also be a bit dangerous if you don’t know your way around. Maybe there is a certain part of town that you just shouldn’t be wandering around at night, or maybe this city is actually serious when they say an evacuation is in order. Either way, here are a few tips to keeping yourself safe in a new, unfamiliar city:

1.) Do your research. Even if you just do a simple Google search, something is bound to come up. Better yet though, contact the local police department before your arrival. They will be able to tell you where to look to find local crime statistics and even possibly spots to avoid (such as their highest areas of theft or assault). If you are going to a city with a gang problem, it might also be necessary to be aware of the colors you wear in certain neighborhoods.

2.) Be smart with your exploring. Love to explore? I completely understand. Exploring needs to be done in a smart manner, though; if you want to visit the local parks, do so during the day when there are plenty of people around. Central Park, for example, is a fantastic place to get to know, but you should definitely be visiting it during the day.

3.) Don’t make it obvious that you’re new in town. Snatchers tend to prey on those that are clearly unfamiliar with their surroundings. So keep your guidebooks and camera a little out of sight. You don’t want to be standing in the middle of nowhere looking completely lost and vulnerable.

4.) Leave the valuables at home. There is no reason for you to be walking around with your passport or social security card, so leave those things at home. Carry only absolute essentials, like your debit card and ID. If you need cash you can use an ATM, and if these things get stolen they are fairly easy to replace.

5.) Explore with a friend. Getting lost in a new city can be fun, for a while, but it can quickly turn scary if you end up in a poor location or can’t find your way back. If possible, explore with a buddy before you head out on your own. This will allow you to get your bearings straight before you try it for the first time.

6.) Use common sense. If you get an uneasy feeling about a particular location, leave. If the guy sitting across from you on the bus is freaking you out, change seats. There is nothing wrong with trusting your guy, especially in an unfamiliar location.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

3 New Safety Concerns for College Students in Winter

Well folks, November has finally come around, which means the snow and cold won’t be far behind (if it hasn’t hit some spots already), and with plenty of snow and cold comes a whole new batch of safety concerns. So read on, take notes, and be safe this winter!

1.) Cold related sicknesses. Sure, it seems like no big deal (after all, what’s a little cold every now and then?), but we’re talking more about something like hypothermia. Every year, I hear about some college student getting drunk at a holiday party, trying to walk home (or just walk to across the street) and then never quite making it and freezing to death in the bushes outside their house. It’s colder than you think out there, and you need to be smart. Not that walking around town drunk was ever a good idea, but keep a little closer eye on your friends this year.

And if you do lose your friend, find their phone. I recently just installed a “lost phone” app (called Find iPhone) on mine and my boyfriend’s phone. If he can’t find his phone, I use the app on mine and it makes his phone beep while showing me exactly where it is on a GPS map. So see, it’s convenient if you can’t find your phone, or if you can’t find the person that is probably with the phone.

2.) Car dawdling. This time of the year is a jackpot for predators looking to jump an innocent victim on their way to their car. Not only do people generally take longer to get into their car (clearing the snow off of the door handle, scraping ice off the windshield), but it also takes people longer to leave. They sit in the car until it warms up a bit. They text while their windshield thaws. Don’t do that! Your best idea would be to install an electric starter that you can use from inside. Your vehicle remains locked, but it’s warming up without you inside it. That way you unlock it, put the key in the ignition and leave.

And if you can’t install an automatic starter (I know, my car is too old for this kind of luxury), please be smarter about how you prepare yourself. Have someone out there with you to help you clear off the snow or ice. Do their car at the same time while you’re out there. Start your car, go back inside and watch from a window inside, and carry some pepper spray or a personal alarm on your keychain just in case anything does happen.

3.) Less awareness. Walking somewhere in the winter time gives a whole new set of challenges. Very often you don’t have the best footing (walking on partially frozen sidewalks), you can’t hear much between the hat covering your ears and the wind whipping by, and you probably aren’t focused on your surroundings; you’re focused on staying warm. Personally, I’m guilty of this all the time; I put my hands in my pockets, look straight down and walk as fast as I can in the general direction of my destination.

This is stupid: very, very stupid. Predators know how to spot an easy target from a mile away, and someone with their hands in their pockets that isn’t even looking 10 feet in front of them is definitely an easy target. Plus, it’s cold out. A predator might wait all night for the perfect victim on a warm summer’s eve, but in 10 degree weather in the middle of winter? They’re going to take the first bait that comes along. So don’t be an easy target. Better yet, get a ride.  

And don’t forget to check out our store full of college safety equipment at www.secureoncampus.com!

Do you have any additional winter safety tips?

Safety Questions Renters Always Forget to Ask

If you’re looking for a home to rent, chances are you know the general questions. You need to know how much they’re asking for rent, if it’s close to public transportation (but not actually living on top of a subway station), and you’re probably going to inquire about leasing guidelines. However, even after you’ve looked at the place (seen the size of the rooms, etc.), there are a few things you still might overlook. Here are some important questions you’d be sorry not to ask beforehand:

1.) How’s the cell phone signal? Nothing is quite as annoying as trying to carry on a conversation with someone while constantly moving around the house trying to chase a seemingly non-existent signal, even when your cellphone provider boasts supposedly “exceptional” signal strength. You’re going to want to know you can call 9-1-1 from anywhere in your home, including under the kitchen sink…just in case.

2.) How’s that elevator? Don’t be surprised if an apartment eight stories up brags about an elevator and then after you move in you find out it’s only for moving heavy freight. Or maybe it has an elevator, but it’s been out of service for three years. Or maybe it has a working elevator perfectly acceptable for people to use; it just moves at a snail’s pace. You might not think this even qualifies as a safety issue, but the first time you come home on crutches and try to navigate up eight flights of stairs, you’ll think differently about the value of that elevator.

3.) Who handles the maintenance? This includes both interior and exterior maintenance. If you live in a house instead of an apartment, you could be expected to do all of the exterior upkeep (like mowing the lawn and shoveling snow). If you live in an apartment, there may be a few different people that you need to call depending on the circumstances. A doorman may handle your mail, a super may handle basic maintenance issues or emergency issues (you smell gas in your apartment) and your landlord may handles more serious issues with your rental. Make sure you have a list of all the appropriate people you need to call should a problem arise, and don’t forget, if something comes up and you need help now, don’t bother calling your landlord, dial 9-1-1 and explain it later. 

4.) What’s the parking situation? Many places offer a free parking space out front or even in a driveway, but if you’re looking to rent in New York the issues of parking is a whole other ballgame altogether. Parking is not only incredibly expensive, but having a set parking space will save you hours of time trying to find one when you arrive home every night. Plus, having to park half a mile away from your front door puts you at risk! If you can get a place that has a garage or a private parking, do it. It means you can walk from your car to your front door in a safe environment.

And don’t forget to check out our online store (www.secureoncampus.com)  for any necessary safety equipment you may need, like pepper spray, personal alarms or the iWitness Smartphone Service.

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