How to stay safe while on a college campus

How to stay safe while on a college campus
Posted at 11:24 AM, May 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-22 11:47:17-04

College campuses offer safe spaces for discovery and building community, but they’re not immune to crime.

Police are investigating after Richard Collins--a student at Bowie State University set to graduate this month--was stabbed on campus at University of Maryland College Park Saturday.

Sean Urbanski, 22, has been charged with first- and second-degree murder as well as first-degree assault. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime and the University of Maryland Police Department is urging the school community to stay alert.

RELATED: Suspect in deadly UMD stabbing member of 'Alt-Reich' group on Facebook

To make sure you’re safe while getting around on campus, follow these tips from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN):

Find campus safety resources. Discover the offices and officials to contact during an emergency. Know where the campus police station, health center and sexual assault services are located, and keep an eye out for emergency phones placed throughout the campus. Be sure to program the campus security and police escort service numbers into your cell phone for quick access.

Stay alert at all times. Be aware of your environment and consider asking a friend or campus security guard to walk with you. When walking alone, put headphones only in one ear to stay aware of your surroundings.

Use caution when posting your location. Sharing your location on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram could make you a target, broadcasting your location to people you may not know. RAINN suggests disabling this function.

New friends should earn your trust. College campuses can create a false sense of security, making new acquaintances “feel like fast friends, but give people time earn your trust before relying on them,” RAINN says. UMD Police suggest to trust your instincts if something feels wrong.

Have a backup plan. Think of your backup plan if you need to get out of a difficult situation. Memorize important phone numbers and addresses, carry cash just in case you can’t use your credit card, have gas, jumper cables and a hidden spare key handy.

Be smart. Keep doors and windows locked while asleep and when you leave your dorm room. If someone keeps the door to your dorm or apartment propped open, be sure to tell a security official.

RELATED: Bowie State student found stabbed near College Park residence hall; suspect charged