College in the City: Safety Tips

Last updated on November 15, 2017

A big city offers a variety of great opportunities for the college student, yet also requires awareness of potential safety issues as violent or simply uncomfortable encounters are more likely to occur. The tips below will help any college student stay safe in an urban environment:

1. Take a self-defense class

Many martial arts and fitness programs will provide one self-defense class to new clients for free, and even just one class can make a difference in your ability to act quickly and effectively during a physical encounter.

Most self-defense tutorials synthesize a variety of techniques from different fighting styles that are useful and easy to learn for both men and women. It’s just a matter of finding a class in your area.

2. Carry a pepper spray keychain and/or Kubotan (or “Kubaton”)

Having a legal, discreet, easily-deployable weapon on your person at all times is a good habit to get into when traveling about the city, even in allegedly ‘safe’ areas.

You should only use it as a last resort if caught in a tight situation (your first and best option is to run. Fast!), but if such a scenario occurs, you’ll be glad you had something to defend yourself with.

Pepper spray is pretty self-explanatory.

A kubotan is a compact melee weapon, usually made of wood, plastic, or steel, and disguised as a keychain. They are legal throughout the U.S., yet can render an assailant unconscious in seconds if used correctly. You can find one for a great price on

3. Be conscious of your surroundings when using public transportation

Most college students tend to use public transit in the city. It’s impossible to go everywhere with a friend, but simply staying vigilant while riding a bus or train can prevent a bad situation from happening.

4. Don’t jog with your earbuds in

Vulnerable joggers head-banging to their favorite tunes are now frequent (and very easy) targets for violence and sexual assault. If the treadmill isn’t quite scenic enough for you, do yourself a favor —leave the earbuds out when running long distances and be mindful of your surroundings, even in the daytime.

Adhering to these easy preventative measures will help any college student stay safe while taking advantage of all the fun their city has to offer.