How to prevent a “home-going”: Safety tips for Homecoming

Leenika Belfield-Martin | Lifestyle Editor

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Courtesy of Leenika Belfield-Martin

Homecoming season has finally arrived. Now is the time for current Hamptonians and alumni to join and celebrate Hampton’s 150 years of being the standard of excellence.

An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people will be on Hampton’s campus throughout the week. Therefore, it’s crucial that during this time students still practice cautionary behaviors when attending events on and off campus.

If you plan to go to the homecoming fashion show, the homecoming concert or any other school-sponsored event on campus, make sure to bring your student ID with you.

Officer Stewart of the HUPD recommends that students travel in small groups with loyal friends.

“Go with a group [and] look out for each other,” Stewart said.

Refrain from walking alone at night. Students may feel comfortable having an item they can use to protect themselves. However, certain items, such as tasers, are prohibited on campus. If you would like to have a means of protection, you can get approval from Student Affairs to carry mace.

When you see a conflict begin, intervene before it escalates to an altercation. Don’t encourage your friends to engage with people they dislike. Don’t let a fun event be ruined by a petty argument.

Officer Stewart advises students not to confront someone if they may have a weapon. In case of an active shooter, the FBI recommends that you either run, hide or fight.

“Whatever your first instinct is,” Stewart said. “Go for it.”

HUPD has a number of resources students can use to protect themselves and to report a crime. The first is a direct call to 911 or HUPD dispatch (727-5666). The second source is the LiveSafe app, which can be downloaded on your mobile device. This app can be used to make anonymous tips to HUPD and has a safety map option that shows all campus parking lots, buildings and emergency call boxes. A very useful option the app has is the “SafeWalk” option, which monitors your location as you walk. Two other resources that can be used to report incidents are the TipsSoft app and the Awareity TIPS platform on the Hampton University website.

When you leave campus, your phone, keys, wallet and student ID should always be on you. Never leave any of your personal belongings unattended, even for a split second. Know where you’re going, how you’re getting there and how you’re getting home. Let someone know where you are going and check in when you change locations. Do not drive if you are impaired with any substance, whether that is alcohol, marijuana or even prescription drugs.

When visiting the Hampton Harbor Apartments, make sure you know the apartment leaseholder’s name and their apartment number. If you are stopped at the gate, you can always ask the leaseholder to meet you at the gate and let you in.

Tips offered by The Better Health Channel to avoid potentially violent situations are as follows: “Don’t get into a verbal argument if someone aggressively confronts you. Walk away,” and “Don’t [walk] off with a person you’ve only just met. Stay in a public place. If they interest you, get a phone number.”

If you aren’t comfortable giving out your number to someone, Snapchat, Instagram and other social media sites are other options.

The Better Health Channel also urges young adults to “Trust your own judgment. Don’t let peer pressure sway you into doing anything you don’t want to do.”

Remember that you’ll ultimately have to explain to your parents why you got “Out-by-Five,” not your friends or significant other.

If you prefer to be a party host, be sure to set boundaries for your guests and secure valuable items. Only serve alcohol if guests are at least 21 years old.

“There are laws that speak to hosting parties serving alcoholic beverages or making them available to minors under the age of 21,” Stewart said. “It is a misdemeanor offense.”

It is also important to be aware of your residence’s guest laws, which are usually stated in your lease agreement, to avoid a potential visit from the police. For most apartments, such as the Hampton Harbor Apartments, the maximum number of guests an apartment can have is eight people.

The most important tips to remember are to make responsible decisions and think before you act. This way, your homecoming will surely not be your home-going.

 

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