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Going away to university or college is a very exciting time.  You’re independent and living away from the watchful eyes of your parents for the first time.  But as well as looking forward to your new found freedom, aren’t you just a tad nervous?

You’ve thought about your courses, your tuition and your housing.  What about your personal safety and security?  It’s of prime importance that you take steps to safeguard that too.  That being said, read on for a few security tips.

1. Safety-proof your new home

It might seem obvious, but a door left propped open or a window unlocked is an invitation for trouble. Leave lights on or music playing to make it appear someone is home. Consider using sensor and timing systems to control lighting. Make sure everyone has a key, and avoid hiding one outside to thwart intruders looking for one.

2. Have a plan and let a roommate know

If you’re going out, let friends know where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Knowing your plans will help them identify any problem later.

3. Travel in numbers

Use the good old-fashioned buddy system — walk in pairs, especially at night. At night, stick to well-lit paths and don’t take short cuts. Another great security tip for college students is to always have an eye on their drinks. Whether at a party or hanging out in the dorm, a student should never leave any drink unattended. Even if left for a short time, a drink can be compromised. Students should get a new drink instead of going back to the old one.

4. Watch what you post online

Tough as it might be to resist Tweeting your every move, avoid posting daily activities that include details of your whereabouts and evening plans. It’s common for students to post status updates of vacations or weekends away, but that can leave you and your home vulnerable.

5. Report suspicious behaviour

Most campuses have a “panic phone” system. Know where these are. Don’t second-guess yourself. If you feel unsafe or see something suspicious, get away as quickly as possible and report it to campus police.