Taking responsibility for your own safety is the first proactive step you can take to maintain your personal safety. Being vigilant and taking some commonsense precautions are the best self-protection practices. Trust your instincts, avoid dangerous situations, and work with law enforcement officials. Remember the three basic elements necessary for a crime to occur: desire, ability, and opportunity. A criminal has the DESIRE and the ABILITY to commit a crime. A victim provides the OPPORTUNITY for the criminal to act. Minimize opportunity, which is the easiest of the three elements to control, and you minimize your risk of becoming a victim of crime.
Cyber Safety Tips
In the past few years, social networking sites, such as Facebook, have become a rite of passage on college campuses. The best prevention tool for the dangers that students may face on these sites is education. The National Campus Safety Awareness Month organization recommends the following to keep yourself and your identity safe:
- Watch what you post on the Internet (especially sites such as Face book). You never know who is looking at your information. It could be stalkers, future employers, or family members. You can’t control who accesses information about you that you post. Be careful.
- Only shop with companies you know. Always use a secure browser. NEVER give out bank account numbers, your social security number, or any other personal information that is not absolutely needed.
- Watch what you download. Don’t ever download anything that could possibly harm your computer or invade your privacy.
- Never rush out to meet someone. If someone is trying to rush a meeting, then be suspicious. Make sure to talk on the phone before meeting, meet in a public place, and bring a friend
Dating and Acquaintances Tips
More than one-half of all reported sexual assaults occur in a residence, usually that of the victim, and involve an attack by an acquaintance--someone known to the victim.
These are some basic strategies to use to help make you less vulnerable to sexual assault while dating:
- Know whom you are dating.
- Let someone know where you are going and how long you expect to be gone.
- Realize that you do not have to accept any unwanted sexual attention.
- Learn to communicate clearly what you want and what your limits are. Be assertive.
- Know whom you are dating.
- Act immediately when something happens that you do not like.
- Trust your feelings.
- Limit the use of alcohol and drugs.
Safety Habits While Driving
- Keep your car in good running condition with at least a quarter tank of gas at all times.
- Keep some money hidden in your car in case of unexpected problems.
- Learn how to change a flat tire.
- Keep your car doors locked and windows rolled up at all times.
- Park in well-lit, well-traveled areas. Ask for an escort to your car if you feel at risk.
- Have your keys ready so that you can get in your car as quickly as possible.
- Before entering your car, visually check inside, under and around it.
- If someone tries to enter your car, honk the horn, yell and attract attention.
- If you are being followed or harassed, drive to the nearest safe place.
- Don’t hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers.
- Don't text while driving.
Opportunities Carjackers Look For
- Intersections controlled by stop lights or signs
- Garages and parking lots for mass transit, shopping malls, and grocery stores
- Self-service gas stations and car washes
- ATMs (automated teller machines)
- Residential driveways and streets as people get into and out of cars
- Highway exit and entry ramps, or any place else that drivers slow down or stop
- Warning signs
How You Can Help Prevent Violence on Campus
Often people who act violently have trouble controlling their feelings. They may have been hurt by others, and may think that making people fear them through violence or threats of violence will solve their problems or earn them respect. This ism’t true. People who behave violently lose respect. They find themselves isolated or disliked, and they still feel angry and frustrated. If you see these immediate warning signs, violence is a serious possibility:
- Loss of temper on a daily basis
- Increase in risk-taking behavior
- Frequent physical fighting
- Detailed plans to commit acts of violence Significant vandalism or property damage
- Announcing threats or plans for hurting others
- Increase in use of drugs or alcohol
- Enjoying hurting animals
- Carrying a weapon
If you notice the following signs over a period of time, the potential for violence exists:
- A history of violent or aggressive behavior
- Serious drug or alcohol use
- Gang membership or strong desire to be in a gang
- Access to or fascination with weapons, especially guns
- Threatening others regularly
- Trouble controlling feelings like anger
- Withdrawal from friends and usual activities
- Feeling rejected or alone
- Having been a victim of bullying
- Poor school performance
- History of discipline problems
- Feeling constantly disrespected
- Frequent run-ins with authority
- Failing to acknowledge the feelings or rights of others
Source: American Psychological Association
If you ever feel endangered or threatened at any time on campus, we ask that you immediately contact Campus Enforcement (828) 289-5850, an instructor or an employee of the college for assistance.
Where Can You Go For Help?
Crime and personal safety are issues we all must face. We must do everything we can as individuals to reduce our risk of becoming victims of crime. Victims are vital reminders of our own vulnerability. On the Rutherford Campus of Isothermal Community College, you will find resources, classes, and workshops, which are designed to promote a safer campus and community. The Continuing Education Division of the College offers many “personal protection” classes: Firearm Safety and Home Defense for Women are just a couple of examples. There are also several agencies in the county that can help with any type of problem or criminal action. Check out Continuing Education offerings.