<p> College is when young adults get to escape the watchful eyes of parents and experience freedom &mdash; as they should. But often in those first throes of independence, the new adults don&#39;t realize that dangers still lurk on and around campus.</p> <p> &quot;Police report higher call rates during the beginning of the school year and during final exam periods &mdash; calls involving theft, <a href="">property damage</a>, conflicts between roommates or friends that escalate into fighting and an increase in incidents involving alcohol or drugs,&quot; said P. Carol Jones, a Colorado-based educational consultant and co-author of &quot;Toward College Success: Is Your Teenager Ready, Willing, and Able?&quot; (Langdon Street Press, 2011).&nbsp;</p> <p> New students sometimes don&#39;t think the rules of the &quot;real world&quot; apply to them. Because they aren&#39;t permanent residents of their campuses or college towns, they often don&#39;t think of the long-term or legal consequences of causing damage.</p> <p> For students who are about to begin the trek to college, security personnel have a few tips that will make their <a href="">campus experiences</a> safer.</p>

Always make sure doors are locked behind you

<p> &quot;Keeping the door propped open may allow you or your friends to enter easier, but it will allow others that are not wanted in the building to enter as well,&quot; said Benjamin Buckley, a security officer at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Harrisburg, Pa.</p> <p>&quot;This also includes keeping your room locked. Do not just assume that since you have to <a href="">unlock a door</a> to enter the building that you do not have to lock your room.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">Back-to-School Computer Security for College Students</a>]</p>

Don&#39;t leave personal belongings unattended in common areas

<p> &quot;If you have to use the restroom or grab something to eat, ask a friend if they can watch your stuff for you,&quot; Buckley said. &quot;Don&#39;t just assume someone will watch it while you are gone.&quot;</p> <p> Remember, too, that an unattended textbook is just as likely to disappear as an unattended laptop.</p> <p> [<a href="">10 Ways College Students Can Avoid Identity Theft</a>]</p>

Take down serial numbers of electronics

<p> <strong>&quot;</strong>Write this information down on a slip of paper and store it safely,&quot; said Michael N. Webster, director of campus safety at McDaniel College in Westminster, Md.</p><p>&quot;Remember, if you put this information on your electronic device and then lose it, it will not help you.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">7 Ways to Protect Your Computer&#39;s Data</a>]</p>

Always use the buddy system

<p> Common sense says you should never walk alone at night and keep to well-lit areas. It also makes sense to let a roommate or friends know your plans, and to let them know if you won&#39;t be coming home on a particular evening.</p> <p> Friends can also take action if something seems amiss. New students are still learning the terrain, and if they are partying, they can easily get lost on the way home.</p> <p> Accidents happen, and campus police sometimes do find students lying alone in ditches or unconscious on the grass.</p> <p> [<a href="">11 Facebook Privacy Steps to Take Now</a>]</p>

Don&#39;t be afraid to ask for help when under the influence

<p> It is very easy for young people to go overboard with celebrating during those first days of freedom. Jones said that&#39;s why schools offer all kinds of programs to warn of the dangers of alcohol- and drug-related crimes &mdash; including assault and rape.</p> <p> Many schools offer &quot;no penalty&quot; encouragements to students who call for medical or police help for other students who are dangerously intoxicated or endangering others. The caller won&#39;t be punished, even if he or she was drinking underage or <a href="">doing drugs</a>.</p> <p> Many campuses also have transportation services available to students who are too intoxicated to get home on their own, feel unsafe out late at night or feel threatened by other students.&nbsp;</p>

Sign up for emergency-notification systems

<p> &quot;If a crisis or emergency occurs on a college campus, minutes matter in many cases,&quot; said Kristi Runyon Middleton, public relations and crisis communications manager at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.</p> <p>&quot;If, for example, severe weather is approaching, a gunman opens fire or if there is a hazardous materials incident, many colleges have the ability to notify the campus community by email, phone call and <a href="">text message</a>.&quot;</p> <p> Some colleges require students to enter emergency contact information at registration. Students who choose not to receive emergency messages must officially opt out.&nbsp;</p> <p> &quot;If your college uses an opt-in system, you must enroll to receive these messages,&quot; Middleton said. &quot;They will not always be sent to you automatically.&nbsp; More colleges are moving to opt-out systems and have higher participation rates than the opt-in approach. It&#39;s important for parents and students to know which system their college uses.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">Look Who&#39;s Stalking: 10 Creepiest Apps for Phones, Facebook</a>]</p>

Take advantage of technology

<p> Beyond signing up for the school&rsquo;s emergency-alert system, students should also take advantage of any other safety options available, said John Nestor, director of public safety at Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio.</p> <p> Common options include panic buttons on cellphones that ring into campus security; escorts, both physical and virtual (over a camera-enabled <a href="">smartphone</a>) &nbsp;that enhance your safety walking to and from your car; and digital profiles that provide campus security personnel with vital information about students, such as car models, medical issues, class schedules and photos, all of which pops up when students hit their panic buttons.</p> <p> [<a href="">How to Secure Your College-Bound Child&#39;s Laptop</a>]</p>

When in doubt, don&#39;t wait &mdash; call campus security or 911

<p> Campus security is there to help you. Don&rsquo;t be afraid to call if you need help. They really do want you to be safe &mdash; not sorry.</p> <p> [<a href="">10 Back-to-School Online Shopping Safety Tips</a>]</p>

8 Safety Basics College Students Need to Know