Be Aware

New Braunfels freshman pre-nursing student Lindsey Stange Photo credit: Jessica Hubble

The Baylor Police Department has some safety tips for students preparing to leave for spring break.

The first tip is to keep your home or apartment safe over break by locking all doors and windows, including upstairs windows.

The department recommends that students not pack their vehicle the night before so that thieves don’t know they are leaving their residence vacant. It also ensures their luggage is not stolen out of their cars. To make the residence appear occupied, the department recommends placing a lamp or a radio on a timer that can be found at most grocery stores or supermarkets.

The department recommends students put their bicycles in their residences to avoid thefts, and to register the bicycle before they leave as well.

The department recommends that, while traveling, students be aware of their surroundings at all times, not carry large amounts of cash and not wear expensive jewelry. These actions can attract thieves.

The Baylor police department recommends that students not drive through the night to their destinations.

“The National Safety Council says traffic death rates are three times greater at night than during the day,” according to the Baylor Department of Public Safety website. “If you can’t avoid night driving, have at least one person stay awake to talk to the driver.”

When staying at a hotel, the department recommends lock ing all the doors and putting important items like passports and wallets in the room safe. They also recommend students not give new acquaintances their hotel name or room number.

It is also recommended that one use the buddy system and not leave a party with a stranger. The police department says if a student does leave with someone, they should give their friends details of where they are going and when they should be expected back.

“If you are in U.S., you can call 911 and emergency services will respond, so if you get hurt or are in an emergency you can get help,” said Baylor Police Chief, Brad Wigtil. “But what our students need to do is if they’re traveling out of the country, they need to do research on how to contact emergency services in that country.”

While traveling outside of the U.S., the department recommends students find the address and contact information for the American consulate or U.S. Embassy in the country they are traveling to. They also recommend that students give a copy of their itinerary to check in with friends and relatives. It is also helpful to take a copy of all credit cards and passport in case they are stolen.

The U.S. Department of State warns citizens about the threat of traveling to certain places, such as Mexico, because of safety threats concerning organized criminal groups.

The U.S. Department of State’s U.S. Passports and International Travel web page has more information and a Mexican state-by-state assessment of safety.

It is also a good idea for students to call their credit and debit card company to let them know they are going out of the country and what the best exchange rates are when using a card, not to exchange American dollars for the local currency.

When it comes to being out in the sun, the department recommends students keep hydrated to avoid heat stroke and wear sunscreen to prevent skin cancer later in life.

“I think the most important thing to keep in mind is just to be safe and smart.” said Denver, CO junior Bri Labrie. “Take a buddy everywhere and always remember that people do not have your best interest at heart. So watch your surroundings and be cautious of who you’re with and what you’re doing.”