Moving away from home to attend university comes with many responsibilities. One of these is taking care of your safety, especially when you’re traveling between campus and home, going out at night, and meeting new people. Here are a few simple things you can do to stay safe.
1. Never Allow Anyone to Enter Your Building
To access your building, you’ll most likely need a key or card. Never allow strangers to enter with you, even if they look like students and say they’ve lost their key or are coming to visit a friend. Be alert for people waiting near the entrance, as they may try to push through the door when you enter — if you notice someone waiting, head to another entrance (if possible) or notify staff.
2. Lock Your Doors
If your doors don’t lock automatically when you close them, make sure you lock them yourself as soon as you arrive home. This goes both for your apartment door and your bedroom door. This won’t just keep you safe — it could also prevent you from becoming a victim of theft.
3. Stay Alert When Walking Alone
It can be tempting to use walks to campus as a chance to catch up with your messages. However, this will mean you’re unaware of what’s going on around you and could make you a target of crime. For the same reason, you should always consider whether it is safe to use headphones when out and about, especially if they do a good job of canceling noise.
4. Familiarize Yourself with Your Surroundings
Spend time familiarizing yourself with all of campus and your neighbourhood. This will prevent you from becoming lost and ending up in an area where you could be at risk. Plus, it will help you discover the quickest routes between your activities.
You should also explore the area after dark with friends. This will reveal any places that are particularly poorly lit, where traffic is infrequent, or could otherwise be dangerous spots to spend time alone.
5. Be Smart When Making Friends
You have plenty of options for making friends at university — make sure you’re smart about your choices. Avoid spending time with people who are prone to making reckless decisions that could put your safety at risk or land you in trouble. True friends will never push you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. In fact, they’ll even help you stay safe, such as by creating a buddy system that ensures no one ever needs to walk home alone.
You should be just as cautious about romantic partners. Until you know the person well, it’s best to spend time together around others and only invite the person over to your apartment when you know your roommates are there.
Key to staying safe at university is living in a building that has adequate security features and is located in a nice part of town — preferably close to campus. You’ll find apartments near uOttawa that meet these criteria at THEO. Our housing has security cameras all around the building and staff on-site to help you out if you run into any problems. Contact us to secure one of the limited spaces we still have available.