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Break out the padlocks and the street smarts because this isn't Kansas anymore, Toto. This is college. And most campus safety officials say freshmen are guaranteed to be assaulted as soon as they enter the gates of their chosen institution – by crime prevention info, that is. Universities subject freshmen to a barrage of seminars, videos and pamphlets about campus safety, especially theft prevention. Not a bad idea considering most studies list theft as the No. 1 crime on campus.

To keep all you students safe and sound, schools are adding on-campus safety features that would make McGruff the crime dog proud. Boston College has more than 100 emergency call-boxes that are linked directly to the campus police station, and the school gives all first-year students safety whistles.

Most campus police departments say to stay safe you don't need to pack a bullet-proof vest, just some common sense.

Safety Tips
College students give you the low-down on playing it safe.

  • Use a campus escort at night

  • Keep your door locked even if you're only going to be gone for a minute. It only takes a second for someone to grab that new laptop.

  • When walking alone, keep your head up and walk with confidence. You don't want to send the message "I'm an easy target."

  • Go to a party with buddies and make sure they know where you are.

  • Be aware of your surroundings.

  • Just like in kindergarten, don't go anywhere with strangers.

  • Know your limits when it comes to drinking .

  • Tell people where you are going.

  • Only walk in well-lit, busy areas.

  • Engrave your name in your TV, stereo and other expensive equipment. It makes it harder for a criminal to sell and it can be returned to you if recovered.

  • Record the serial numbers of expensive equipment.

  • Don't flash your money around or brag to your floormates about how expensive your stereo is. You might as well send out engraved invitations to burglars.

  • Lock your bike on campus.

  • Go with your gut. If you feel you're somewhere unsafe, leave. Your instincts are probably right.

By Jill Carroll, U. of Massachussetts

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