On campuses across the country, students are gearing up for finals. That means plenty of late nights studying in the library and – after the dust settles – plenty of partying and celebration. ECT is proud to provide state-of-the-art security systems for the dormitories at a local university, but there are many other ways to ensure your or your college-age child’s safety as classes are shuttered for the summer. 27294312_s

Put Down the Phone 

First, don’t let technology distract you from your surroundings. Walking to your dorm from a late-night study session with your favorite band’s new album on repeat sounds great, but skip the headphones. Music blaring in your earbuds makes it impossible to hear if ill-meaning people are approaching, and staring at your phone may cause you to miss an oncoming car as you step off a sidewalk or walk across a parking lot. Somewhat related to this, it goes without saying that you should never walk alone at night. Always travel in pairs, or, better still, groups when moving from place to place after dark.

Use Your Locks 

It’s very likely that the last thing your parents told you before leaving you at campus, in your dorm, all alone for the first time in your life, far away from home (well, Mother’s Day just passed, we had to get in a motherly guilt trip) was to lock your doors. Mom told you that for a reason – while locks on your car or dorm door may not necessarily prevent determined thieves or other ne’er-do-wells from getting in eventually, they do 1) protect you from less motivated scoundrels and 2) serve as an alert that someone is attempting to get to you or your belongings, allowing you time to escape or call the police. Get in the habit of locking doors immediately upon entering your home or car. If you make your way around campus via bicycle, consider using both a chain or cable lock as well as a steel U-lock. Most bicycle thieves arrive at the scene of an intended crime with a tool capable of breaking only one kind of lock, and will likely target bikes using that particular method of security. Making your bike the least accessible option on the bike rack will go far towards securing it.

Additionally, don’t lend out your room key or student ID to anyone, for any reason. Even very close and well-meaning friends can lose your ID, giving thieves access to your room, meal plan, and important information.

Most smartphones will have an emergency contact feature allowing emergency response personnel to access these contacts in the event that you are unable to provide that information. Keep your parents’ or guardian’s information, as well as the number of a nearby trusted friend or relative, in your emergency contacts.

ECT has many services available to help keep students’ dorms and campuses safe, but every student should remain vigilant about his or her surroundings. Trust your instincts, be realistic about your ability to defend yourself, and know where emergency phones and stations are on your campus at all times. Good luck on finals, and have a safe and fun summer!