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Caroline's Crime Prevention Tip of the Week

Spring Break Safety Tips
Elmhurst College
Campus Security

Before you leave
    Secure your dorm room or apartment.
    Unplug appliances.
    Make sure all windows are closed and locked.
    Leave a copy of your travel itinerary with someone back home.

Travel
    Keep you eyes and hands on your baggage and personal belongings at all times.
    Keep those with whom you are traveling and someone back home informed of any changes to your itinerary.
    If you travel out of the USA (that includes Canada and Mexico), make sure you have an up-to-date passport, proper visa, and know the rules and regulations for transporting perfume, food, animals, cigarettes, alcohol, and other drugs across borders.
    Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Traveler’s checks are always a good idea. Leave credit and ATM cards locked in a secure place.
    If you are taking prescription medication, be sure to pack enough to last the length of your trip.

ATM
    Try to go the ATM in groups, but avoid getting overly complacent about safety just because you’re traveling in numbers.
    Try to go during daylight hours.
    When you approach the ATM, do a full 360 degree scan, looking completely around you to see if anyone is hanging out where they shouldn’t be.
    When punching in your pin number, use your other hand to cover the keypad.
    If someone is creeping you out, go to another ATM. (There are plenty of them, especially in vacation spots!)

Drinking
    Know the laws regarding possession of alcoholic beverages and drugs. Blood alcohol content (BAC) levels used to determine DUI (Driving Under the Influence) are set at lower readings than in the United States (fewer drinks = higher risk = arrest).
    Do not get involved in illegal drugs; the penalty in some countries is death.
    If you are of legal drinking age and you do decide to drink – do so responsibly.
o    98% of spring breakers injured were intoxicated.
o    Keep your drink in sight at all times. Leaving it unattended gives anyone the opportunity to “slip” something into your drink -- acid, “roofies,” or other dangerous substances.
o    DO NOT DRIVE AFTER DRINKING. Use a designated driver or choose public transportation.
    Pace yourself if you choose to drink, and avoid hard alcohol or other drinks that are powerful and have fast effects. (And remember that drunks = easy targets.)
    Should members of your group become intoxicated, never leave them alone. If they pass out, make sure they sleep on their side to prevent choking, and if their level of consciousness is too low to get a response, call 911 or the local emergency number.
    Drinking makes it easier for a person to become either the victim or the perpetrator of a sexual assault.

Sex & Violence
    Studies show that few students who had sex during spring break used condoms, even if a condom was available, and among women, those with higher alcohol consumption were more likely to have been the victim of a sexual assault.
    Don’t allow yourself to be taken to an isolated location.
    Don’t walk alone. Use the buddy system.
    Never leave with someone you just met. Know the difference between making new friends and allowing yourself to be alone with a stranger.
    Watch out for “rape” drugs. Don’t leave your drink unattended. Don’t accept open drinks from strangers.
    Don’t bring strangers back to your room, and don’t give out any personal information about yourself or anyone else.
    If you are assaulted or raped, alert the proper authorities immediately.

Hotel
    Try and get a room that is above the 1st floor and below the 6th floor.
o    Why? First floor rooms are easier to break into, and rooms above the sixth floor are sometimes too high for fire ladders to reach.
    Lock your door and use the chain or bolt lock.
    Keep patio doors or sliding doors closed and locked whether in the room or not.
    Don’t leave valuables in your hotel. Use the safe in the room or in the lobby for valuables.
    Know where the emergency exits are located.
    Know the emergency phone number in your area (it may not be 911).
    DO NOT climb on balconies or sit on balcony rails. This can be fatal.

Personal Safety
    Always walk, talk, sit, and act with confidence. Avoid looking like you’re lost.
    There’s safety in numbers. Try your best to stay around your friends.
    Outside the USA, never drink local water, no matter how clean it looks.
    Beware of pickpockets. Robbery and acquaintance rape top the list of crimes committed against college students on spring break.

Sun
    The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to keep out of the sun during those hours.
    You CAN get a sunburn even if it is cloudy.
    Put on sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors - it needs time to work on the skin.
    Apply sunscreen with a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15, paying special attention to the face, nose, ears, back of knees, hands, feet and shoulders.
    Re-apply sunscreen after swimming and sweating.
    Wear a hat.
    Wear sunglasses with UV (Ultraviolet) Protection.

Hot Tubs
    Drinking in the hot tub might sound like a good idea, but alcohol can dialate blood vessels and lower blood pressure to dangerous levels.
    The effects of alcohol are felt sooner and stronger in a hot tub.
    It can lead to unconsciousness and drowning.

 
Beach Tips
    Drink plenty of water, non-carbonated, and non-alcoholic drinks, even if you do not feel thirsty.
    Stay within the designated swimming area and ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard.
    Never swim alone.
    Be aware of rip currents. If you should get caught in a current, don’t try to swim against it. Swim parallel to shore until clear of the current.
    Seek shelter in case of storm. Get out of the water. Get off the beach in case of lightning.
    Know the flag warning system:
o    Red Flag: Stay OUT of the water - strong undertow and riptides.
o    Yellow Flag: Use CAUTION in the water - some undertow and riptides possible.
o    Blue Flag: Calm water.
    Use common sense - if the waves look dangerous... they probably are.
    Jellyfish cause intense burning. Lifeguards know the first aid procedure for reducing the pain.
    Watch out for traffic - some beaches allow cars. If you're driving... obey the speed limit.
The most important spring break safety tip is to use common sense. With these safety tips in mind, stay safe, and enjoy your sun-filled spring break.

 

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