Safety as a culture of care, not fear.
No one wants to be told outright that their home isn't safe.
What's more likely on college campuses, however, is receiving text message updates or emails from the campus police alerting students that a crime has occurred on or near campus. In addition to a university's administrative actions concerning safety, a student body's collective reaction to crime on campus has the potential to create a safer living environment.
Many universities have a reputation for creating a cultural "bubble" around campus. Oftentimes, students can eat, shop, and socialize on campus without venturing into the surrounding area. This bubble, while it can be comforting, can also help create a false sense of security and seclusion for students. At Rice University, for example, campus police patrol regularly and monitor select entry-points to the university grounds, and students are given a sense of privacy and responsibility over their own living space within the residential colleges. Rice's bubble is notoriously looming. Some students refer to a phenomenon called "Rice apathy" to describe the subsequent attitude that issues both within and outside of Rice are of no concern to the student body. When combined, the campus "bubble" and "Rice apathy" can lead to a dangerous sentiment concerning campus safety.
Security on college campuses is a team effort. Students who leave their doors unlocked are by no means "asking for" intruders. Students who leave their personal belongings out in the open are not "setting themselves up" for theft. No victim of a crime should be blamed for their victimhood. That being said, the student body has a responsibility to foster a culture that respects the measures of security put in place by the university and works together with campus security officials to promote a safer community. As conscious members of a university, we cannot keep encouraging our fellow students to leave their doors unlocked simply for convenience. Remind your friends that an unlocked door could be more than just a penalty fine. Encourage your friends to keep their valuables under a watchful eye. You can complain about the multiple campus entrances that are locked at night, but you should also remember that those minor inconveniences are in place for a reason. We shouldn't fight the very policies that were put in place to protect us.
The concept of a safe campus came not from the lack of threat in the world, but from the level of precaution that universities have taken to keep their students from harm. None of this is to say that colleges should have a culture of fear, but rather a culture of care. Students should care about the safety of those around them and take every measure given to keep their community safe.