Back to School: College Security in the Winter

As college students return to campus after their winter breaks over the next few weeks, they could possibly be heading to or returning home from class in the dark. In the northern states, they also have winter weather (snow and ice and heavier clothing making for slower movements).

What advice do you have for students to protect themselves in winter?



That is a toughy!!

I know my text books are a pretty expensive weapon(s)!!
So I might would say hit the potential threat over the face or head with one of their books.

This just came to me -------> I would advise them to stay on populated roads (not saying a highway because do not want a vehicle to be a threat) Just walk in packs if possible.

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Just had this chat with two of mine returning to college Monday.

The main points were:

  • Travel in trusted packs. (Daughter especially).
  • Inside tactical pen in your pocket.
  • Outside ice scrapper in your pocket, even if you are riding the bus.

Not just books as a weapon. 2 or 3 average text books can stop even some “high power” rifle rounds. Turn that backpack around, to cover the chest like body armor.


Wow! @45IPAC I did not know that!!!

Thanks for sharing that!!!

Yup. Here’s a good video. It takes a FMJ .308 to go all the way through. Since we in this community are aware of the real statistics of what firearms are used to perpetrate these crimes, a kids book back could save their life.

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The best advice… leave college, save your money and read as much as you can and learn.

If that is not an option, ensure the college you attend is public and adheres to the Constitution and you are able to carry on campus.

In the winter, your bigger threats may be over exertion, cold, hypothermia, exposure, slipping and being injured…

Take your time, be aware of your surroundings, and the footing and people around you.

“Oh, the people outside are frightful……”

Oh, never mind, Christmas has passed.


Any ball point pen will work in an emergency. Always keep a pen, and have done so for over 40 years.

Ice scrapers are good…


A bag with a hidden compartment for a holster…

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My personal opinion…

When I was an undergrad (out of state), one winter got down to -76F windchill. It was a small city, but had plenty of city crime problems. Snow, ice, slush, etc. tend to increase risk of accidents, including a slip and fall and car crashes. It seemed like a lot of crime that was out in the open seemed to decrease significantly during the winter. Not that one shouldn’t be vigilant and aware.

IMO, in a wintery area (like the pic in the OP) much of the crime on campus was related to indoor things i.e. parties (and bad things that happen during them), clubs and bars (lots of drunk students), after parties (sexual assault is a problem on many campuses, and IIRC it was often by people that knew eachother), theft from placing things in public areas without securing them, etc.

The colder it was, the more people tended to just focus on getting from one indoor spot to another, without doing anything that might add to the time they had to be outside.

One thing I might suggest to limit or eliminate… During the winter break, people would often ask/offer ride shares to strangers (posted in student areas). Many students drove out of state for the break, and others would offer to pay for gas if they could get a ride and be dropped off at a location on the way… being in/near a city many students didn’t have/need vehicles. This was common, and I did it a few times, but usually with people I knew.

Also, although this holds true for warmer weather also, if one must walk around campus late at night, it’s always better to be in a group (preferably one that doesn’t have troublemakers), and many campuses offer security services for walking people to their cars, or to and from certain buildings. No reason to not take advantage of those services if they are offered, as that what they are getting paid to do. Also, some campuses have security phones if you need to report or call for someone. It’s probably a good idea to know where they are and how to use them.

I’d add a few other tips… but I don’t like to promote anti-good samaritan actions, as many of us that live in or around the city tend to throw a blind eye to someone in need because there is a high possibility of being scammed or robbed. For example, I was lucky enough to experience rural hospitality/help when my motorcycle ran out of gas on the highway during a blizzard. I don’t think that would happen here in Chicago.


I went to UW Milwaukee - not going to tell you how many years ago. I lived a block from the southwest side of campus and took an art class on the southeast side of campus one night a week. I had to lug a portfolio to and from class (pain in the butt).

One night I had just about gotten to my street walking along the south side of campus (I never called the security services, I lived a block off of campus and I was indestructible at that point) and a car pulled up alongside me. It was a guy from my class offering me a ride home. I thanked him for his concern and said I was almost home. He almost insisted on it, and then gave me his number (before cell phones) and asked me to call him when I got home so he knew I was safe.)

He drove away. Another car pulled up right after him and asked me if the other driver was harassing me because they had the make, model, and license plate if he needed to call the police about the other driver.

I made it home fine, but after I told my male roommates (long-time friends) they insisted on walking me home from class after dark from then on.


@Dawn. Glad to hear that everything turned out ok. One summer I attended summer school classes at Cambridge, the US students tried to stick together going to the bars. One night one of the girls decided to head back to the dorms early and insisted we stay.

The next day we found out that she was in the hospital because she was assaulted and IIRC had her arm broken. It turned out that 3-4 teenage girls, plus one mother, provoked her and attacked her on the street on her way home. After that, I always walk friends home or to their cars.

I miss Milwaukee (lived downtown for a few years). IIRC, the Northside was really bad.