How safe are your kids when they are away at college? Is their campus a prime target for crime, drugs or alcohol? How can you help them take smart precautions to stay safe? We asked several experts and came up with a list of 18 questions every parent should be asking.
1. Does the campus feel safe to you?
2. After you take the admissions tour, can you take one led by campus security?
3. Is the school monitored—in real time, 24/7—by video cameras? Or is the video merely checked after there’s been a problem?
4. Are there call boxes throughout campus?
5. Does the school use electronic-access card keys and newer campus-alert systems?
6. Are there redundant forms of security, like cameras, call buttons and rotating patrols?
7. Does the school offer self-defense classes?
8. Can you talk to professors, upperclassmen, and local residents about security?
9. What do the local police say about college security?
ALCOHOL AND DRUGS
10. Is there a well-defined alcohol and drug policy? How vigorously is it enforced?
11. Are residential staffers trained to spot abuse and offer help?
12. Does the college inform you of arrests and hospitalizations related to drugs and alcohol?
13. How many students are in fraternities and sororities? (They tend to drink more heavily.)
14. How many students are involved in community service? (They tend to drink less.)
15. Are there smoke and carbon monoxide detectors?
16. Are there sprinklers and fire extinguishers? Are there two exits? Do the windows open?
17. Are there regular fire drills?
18. Does the furnace get annual maintenance, and is the electrical system up-to-date?