The Daily Gamecock

9 ways to stay safe on campus

1) Pay attention to your surroundings. Trust your instincts about what feels safe and what doesn't. Be aware of the people around you, especially those who might be approaching you. If possible, keep your distance from any person or situation that makes you uncomfortable.

2) Don't walk alone at night. Organizations such as Walk Home Cocky, Carolina Cab and Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity provide free escort services to all students walking to their cars or homes on or near campus. If you have to walk alone, walk quickly, alertly and confidently.

3) Let someone, such as a roommate, know when you are walking to or from campus. Tell them when you arrive at your destination. If something sidetracks you, whether dangerous or not, someone will know to check on you. You can also call someone to talk to until you reach your destination.

4) Carry mace or pepper spray, and have it easily available whenever you are in a potentially dangerous situation. Get it ready to spray if someone you don't know starts approaching you.

5) Take a self-defense class or attend a self-defense workshop sponsored by Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention and Prevention (SAVIP). These programs often address safety basics as well as physical maneuvers of self-defense.

6) Have a reliable plan for transportation when you go out, whether it's in Five Points or somewhere you will be consuming alcohol. Stay with people you know, and designate one or two friends in your group to make sure the rest don't get overly inebriated. If you notice that you or anyone you're with has been drugged, get to a safe place immediately.

7) Report all incidents to USCPD or the Columbia Police Department. An overwhelming majority of attacks, especially sexual assaults, go unreported because students think they don't have a case or think it isn't important. But getting help if you have been attacked also ensures that you have access to any necessary medical attention.

8) Utilize the services provided through the Thompson Student Health Center. SAVIP provides numerous services for victims of sexual violence, including legal guidance and accompaniment through any medical procedures. The health center can also test for sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

9) Get to know campus. Know which areas are less populated at night and which areas will still have people walking around late at night. Stick to places you're familiar with, preferably those with buildings you could duck into if you feel threatened.