A recent study by Travelers found that 50 percent of educational institutions report that theft is the greatest hazard. But Elaine Baisden, vice president for Travelers Personal Insurance, says there are several things you can do to protect your belongings.
Baisden recommends leaving heirlooms, jewelry and other irreplaceable items at home with your parents while you're getting used to your surroundings and getting to know the people around you. Until you get there, you don't really know who you can trust... even your roommate. If it's something you really need, get a safety deposit box at the bank or a safe for your room.
She also recommends leaving your dorm locked when you're out. It's also advisable to have anything of monetary significance insured. Also, if you suspect your dorm or apartment has been broken into when you get home, don't go in. Call the police.
When you're away at college, you'll also be out in a strange (at least at first) city. Even if you're a homebody, you'll eventually have to stray from your dorm room after dark, at which time you're more vulnerable, especially if you're a woman, to mugging, rape or more.
Baisden recommends educating yourself about school safety procedures. Know what to do in case of a fire, add the campus safety number to your phone and find out if your school has any mass emergency procedures (e.g., during a bombing or shooting).
The sad reality is, you're in more danger of suffering a sexual assault while at school than any other personal safety threat. According to a 1990 publication Fraternities of Fear: Gang Rape, Male Bonding, and the Silencing of Women by Kathleen Hirsh, at least one in four college women will be the victim of a sexual assault. More disturbingly, the Bureau of Justice reports that within at least 80 percent of these assaults, the victim knows their assaulter.
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