Awareness is key to a safe spring break

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    Spring break is right around the corner and TCU police say they want to alert students of potential dangers.

    During spring break, alcohol consumption increases and can lead to dangerous outcomes such as assault, rape or death.

    Despite such dangers, students are still excited about their spring break plans, first-year student Hayden Guy said.

    This year, Gulf Shores, Alabama will be a popular destination for first-year students.

    Gulf Shores:

    “We are going to Gulf Shores. Most people who are in a fraternity and sorority are going,” first-year student Maggie Crockett said.

    Some students going to Gulf Shores said they are excited because of the housing accommodations. The spring break houses can hold a large amount of people, so most members of the same Greek organization are able to say together.

    “I’m extremely excited. I probably won’t ever have another chance to stay in a house with 25 of my best friends,” Guy said.

    But, despite the excitement, there are some concerns.

    “There is a balcony overlooking our swimming pool [which is] something I do not see ending well,” Guy said.

    At least one spring breaker dies every year from falling off a balcony. When alcohol is involved, people lose coordination, which may explain the number of deaths.

    In order to maintain safety, the owners of the spring break houses have the right to evict the occupants.

    “I feel like everybody is told they will get evicted, so that’s something I’m worried about,” Crockett said.

    Spring Break Mindset:

    Students may make decisions that lead to eviction because they were influenced by alcohol and the carefree mindset of spring break. 

    “I think the mindset is a combination of excitement and freedom. It is the first time in most [college students’] lives that they are 100 percent responsible for coordinating an entire vacation,” Guy said.

    Unfortunately, this excitement and freedom can lead to some serious consequences.

    “They just want to have a good time; but if you’re not securing your belongings and your own safety then that can really destroy the whole vacation,” Pamela Christian, TCU crime prevention officer, said.

    National Statistics:

    Potential dangers are heightened with alcohol.

    typical college student consumes about six drinks during a school week. During spring break, however, that number increases to about 10 drinks every day. This means that a student could be consuming 70 drinks a week.

    Students should be leery of this, especially if they plan to engage in sexual activities, Christian said.

    Christian said when alcohol is involved, consent cannot be given. When consent is not given, a person can report the incident as rape.

    survey, conducted by the American Medical Association, shows that many women, ages 17-35, had a friend who participated in sexual activity during spring break. Three out of five reported having friends who had unprotected sex and 59 percent reported having a friend who had more than one sexual partner.

    Officer Christian’s Safety Tips

    Because of the potential dangers, Christian says that it is important to keep certain things in mind while traveling for spring break.

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    Planning ahead is important to a successful vacation, Christian said. By keeping safety in mind, spring breakers can lower their risk of certain dangers.

    1. Travel with a friend

    2. Drink moderately

    3. Be aware of surroundings

    4. Don’t carry too many valuables

    5. Don’t drive while fatigued

    6. Person riding shotgun should stay awake

    7. Be leery of locations for gas stops

    8. Make sure vehicles are serviced

    9. Know how to change a flat tire

    10. Have an emergency contact list

    11. Be aware of laws (especially if in a new country)

    12. Know safest way to travel

    13. Don’t tell strangers your whereabouts

    14. Keep cash and jewelry in a safe

    15. Try to wear something under your shirt to keep items in: to avoid being pickpocketed

    16. Don’t leave valuables in plain view