To me, there are two parts to safety in the dorms: keeping yourself safe, and keeping your stuff safe. Obviously the former is more important but nevertheless, failure to do either can cause a lot of unneeded stress in your life. For the most part, the only thing that is required is common sense.
Now, please don’t take the following as a “don’t trust the world” rant, because in my own experience “dorm folk” are for the most part helpful, considerate, and accommodating people. In essence, the majority of them are just like you. Their decisions have led them to the exact same building at the exact same school as you, so obviously you share something in common.
Regardless, there are bound to be a few bad apples, either at your school, or in the neighborhood. So for starters, don’t walk down dark alleys in the middle of the night. Most people already observe this rule, but you never know. Perhaps one night you had a few too many drinks and you decide to take a short cut. Don’t! Especially if you have a purse or visible electronics on you. That is just asking to be a victim. The solution here is, don’t be a loner! Follow the usual well-lit trail back to your room with friends, and don’t display your iPod, cell phone, or jewelry if you happen to find yourself in a weary scenario.
The next and equally simple step is securing your belongings. This involves locking your dorm room, locking your computer to your desk, and properly disposing (i.e. shredding) any old credit cards or school ID cards. There is no need to be a shut in, just be smart with your stuff and who you allow to be alone with it.
Finally, stay healthy and organized. Disease and infection are one of the most serious and common threats in a packed dorm room setting. Staph infections and the like are potential hazards to your well-being and college experience. Try to wear shower shoes, especially if you have an open wound. And if you find yourself with a curious pain, itch, or bump don’t be afraid to go ask the doctors at your school’s health center.
As long as you keep your stuff secure and organized, you’ll be relaxed and free to enjoy your time in the dorms.