Spring Break is almost here. It’s an exciting time for students, many of whom will be traveling in the days ahead.
Baylor Police Chief Brad Wigtil
, a parent of two Baylor graduates, knows that students are often focused on the excitement of getting away rather than on all the little details to ensure they are prioritizing safety. That’s not the case for Baylor police, who continue to focus on the safety of students, campus, and the neighborhoods around Baylor while most are away.
"Our three main concerns from a safety standpoint are here on campus when they're away, their physical travel plans when they're on the road and then, of course, that they're safe in their destination," Wigtil says.
At home, on the road and on campus, here are ways parents and students can help ensure a safe Spring Break.
Have a conversation
“It’s good for parents and students to have a conversation, and for students to share plans—their destinations, where they’re staying, potential side trips they might take and any other information that can help parents,” Wigtil said.
Even though students enjoy the freedom of being away, it’s still okay for Mom and Dad to call. Chief Wigtil suggests parents and students devise a plan to contact each other periodically as a check-in.
Tips for their Waco home
“Students may be gone,” Wilgtil said, “but we’re still checking out residence halls and conducting regular patrols around campus. A lot of students live just off campus, so we continue to patrol those neighborhoods and keep an eye on those properties.”
As Baylor P.D. does its part to be a visible presence and resource for students remaining on campus, students can do their part to help in the following ways if they’re leaving for a few days:
• Always close and lock all doors and windows (even upstairs windows) to your residence if you will be leaving-even if only for a brief period of time.
• Do not pack your vehicle and leave it overnight prior to your departure.
• Students leaving their vehicle behind should ensure it is locked with all valuables removed.
• Secure your bicycle inside your residence while away for an extended period of time.
• Make your home appear occupied while you are away by placing a lamp or radio on a timer.
• Avoid posting vacation and trip information on Facebook and other social media websites.
Tips for the road
"Some students drive a long way overnight," Wigtil said. "I wouldn't encourage an overnight trip, but if students do, make sure they change drivers and have someone up to talk to the driver.”
Wigtil suggests regular travel breaks for students traveling long distances, and stresses the importance of having a navigator alongside to help the driver safely determine the route to their destination.
Tips for the destination
Once your student and his or her friends arrive at their final destination, it's important they continue to remember to make wise decisions and use "their God-given intuition if they sense they're getting into a bad situation." It starts with the buddy system.
"The buddy system is what we really encourage wherever they go," Wigtil said. "It works. It's good to keep an eye on each other. Sometimes we can put ourselves in vulnerable situations, and the buddy system helps alleviate that. We encourage students to be wise about the people they meet, and not just go anywhere with someone they don't know."
Have fun and be safe!
Talk to your student about the tips above to set the foundation for a safe trip. And though Wigtil's chief concern is safety, he hopes your student has a great experience over the break.
"God has amazing plans and purposes for all of our students. We see it as our duty at BUPD to safeguard their ability to live out that calling in their lives. My prayer for our students right now is that they have a wonderful Spring Break, recharge and come back ready for the rest of the spring semester after a fun and safe time."
Click here to visit the Baylor University Police Department website to learn more about resources, contact info and more.