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Spring Break: Ways to stay safe

Historically dangerous spring vacations leads to organizations creating new safety techniques

By Marissa Piccolo
On March 13, 2014

For most, spring break will inevitably be spent cooped up inside with some Netflix, still trying to avoid the cold. Yet a lucky few will be flying off to a tropical location with friends to take part in the college vacation tradition. However with countless horror stories, and recent headlines about a Bates student found dead while studying abroad in Italy, spring break safety cannot be overlooked. 
Many cities have already made public safety plans in preparation for spring breaks. The City of Corpus Christi, a popular beach destination in Texas, is even creating a mobile police substation to be located on the island, and will be setting up presentations on crime prevention, auto theft, and family violence (kiitv.com). The Panama City Beach Council supported a $105,000 proposal to bring in outside aid from the Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (newsherald.com).
Yet no matter what cities themselves are doing to prepare, individual students are encouraged to take personal responsibility and exercise caution. As Lt. Andrew Fournier of the UConn Police Department said, "Not being aware of the potential for crime while vacationing is dangerous. Being away for spring break may lend itself to being less vigilant and as a result, one may become more susceptible to being a victim of a crime."
Whether vacationing within the United States or abroad, any location can present dangers. "The potential for danger exists for students when traveling in areas that they may not be familiar," said Fournier. Ross Thompson, co-founder of travel-safety company Mayday360, agrees. Cancun, Mexico has become a popular destination ever since MTV began filming annual spring break shows there. The biggest danger there, Thompson says, is that, "(students) act like they are still in the U.S. and that the U.S. will protect them. That's wrong and can add up to disaster."
According to Explorer Travel Security, the most common spring break dangers are alcohol and drug abuse, coupled with overheating and dehydration that can be deadly, accidents from auto to ripe-tide drowning, and sexual assault. Especially places that attract students with cheap costs, the area's crime rate outside the gates of the resort is a great risk factor, commonly due to drug cartels and gang wars which oftentimes bride local enforcement officers. Lieutenant Fournier considers theft of personal financial information the least known, yet pervasive, danger when traveling to well-known tourist areas.
As final advice, Fournier urges, "Travel in groups, watch out for each other, trust your instincts (if it doesn't seem right, don't proceed), approach spring break type activities in moderation with safety in mind."
 


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