New technology to help college kids stay safe

August 7, 2012 4:44:15 AM PDT
College is an exciting time for young people ready to embrace their independence, but what should students and parents know about safety before heading off to campus?

College students are particularly vulnerable to crime. Many of them are living on their own for the first time, meeting new people, and getting used to unfamiliar surroundings. It's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of campus life and not pay as much attention as you should to personal safety.

Statistically, 1 in 5 women will be attacked in her lifetime.

1 in 4 women and 1 in 16 men is sexually assaulted during their college career.

Taking an extra measure of protection is the difference between becoming a victim and getting to your destination safely, whether you're walking home from the library or going out to a party.

What are a few common sense safety tips students need to keep in mind?

Let friends and roommates know where you are going , who you are with, and when to expect you home.

Never leave outside doors propped open, and don't let strangers into secured buildings or residence halls.

A stranger is still a stranger, even if they are a fellow student. Do not accept a ride or go off somewhere alone with a person you don't know.

Do not drink in excess. When you do so, your ability to make decisions becomes impaired, making you an easy target.

The beaten path is the better path. Don't take short cuts and familiarize yourself with the area before heading out.

While out, be careful what you post online. Do not advertise that you are not at home.

How can people incorporate technology into personal safety? What are some of the tools available?

There are currently three categories of safety products on the market.

1) OnStar: Device-based services, such as OnStar for your car, usually have a specific function, like to get you help if you are in an accident.

2) Circle of 6: There are also Friends & Family apps, such as Circle of 6, that will broadcast on your social networks if you need help. The downside is that if your friends or family are not online, they may not get the message in time.

3) StreetSafe:The third category is a service you can use before a situation becomes an emergency. StreetSafe, combines the GPS technology in your smart phone with a 24-hour call center. If you feel unsafe, a trained Safety Advisor will stay on the line with you until you reach your destination, and contact your local 911 if you need immediate help. There is also a silent alarm feature that will provide police with your exact GPS coordinates so they can reach you quickly.

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