""The transition from high school to college for young adults is filled with anticipation and excitement. And for those who will live away from home on campus, it may be their first experience with total independence.

"Unfortunately, students oftentimes develop a false sense of security and fail to recognize potential dangers that may be present in the seemingly peaceful surroundings of the college campus," says Sheriff Mike Tregre. "Statistics indicate that one in every three students will become a victim of campus crime at some time or another," the Sheriff continued. Recognizing the importance of this safety issue, Sheriff Tregre urges college students to exercise caution when living on campus.

American colleges and universities average at least three violent assaults a year, eight hazing or assault crimes and more than 450 property crimes, according to New York Times Magazine.

"Because of the nature of their open environment, college campuses are extremely vulnerable to crime. It’s hard to keep buildings and doors locked at all times because people must have access to them at all times," Sheriff Tregre said.

"Campus crimes are as varied as they are numerous and they take many, many forms—from date rape to burglary to armed robbery to theft and drugs. But sometimes no matter how cautious we might be, it is impossible to escape all dangers. However, the old adage, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’ can be the key to protecting oneself from becoming a victim of crime," Sheriff Tregre indicated. Here are some suggestions:

""*Never post information as to your whereabouts on your dorm room door. If an 
   intruder knows you are away, it is an invitation for them to break in.

*Even if leaving your room for only a few minutes, lock the door.
*When studying in out-of-the-way places, inform campus security as to
your whereabouts.
*When meeting a study partner for the first time, make arrangements to meet in a
   public place.

*Encourage campus security to establish a photo identification program  to deter
  outsiders from entering school buildings.

*Work with local enforcement to organize a safety education program to  teach
   incoming students the do’s and don’ts of campus security.

*Familiarize yourself with emergency call box locations.
*Learn to trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, get out  of it. Do
   not allow anyone to violate your comfort zone.

Sheriff Tregre sends his best wishes to all St. John Parish students going off to colleges and universities and urges them to, "Think ‘ safety first‘."