If you’re a college student, you’ve got plenty on your mind. Between acing exams, planning for your future, and taking pride in your alma mater’s athletic teams, you already have a full plate of things to take care of. For many students, the least of their worries is safety. However, safety should be the top concern, given the number of campus crimes that transpire on a daily basis.

Crime on campus is common, but exactly how common is a different story. Depending on what school you go to, you may experience more or less criminal activity. Yet, no matter what university you attend, the best way to avoid becoming a victim of a crime is through awareness.

Wondering what type of crime you are most at risk of experiencing? The answer may shock you.

The crime most frequently committed on college campuses

Contrary to popular belief, the most common type of crime on college campuses is not sexual assault or drug use, it’s actually theft. According to an article on collegecrimewatch.org, theft, including burglary and grand theft auto, are the most frequently reported crimes on college campuses. Some of the “hot” items that are targeted for theft are electronics, including laptops, tablets, smart phones, and digital cameras.

What you can do to reduce your chances of getting robbed

Not every theft occurs in the dark of night behind an old, desolate road. Theft crimes can take place at any time, and at an place. The best way to lower your chances of being robbed is to mind your belongings.

If you live in a dorm, keep your most precious valuables out of plain sight. If you have a safe in your room, use it to store jewelry, cameras, electronics, and other expensive items. No in-dorm safe? You may want to consider investing in a safety deposit box at your local bank.

Have a car? Make sure to always lock your doors the second you get inside your vehicle and the second you step out of it. Many car thefts occur because the owner of the vehicle failed to lock their doors, giving perpetrators an easy pass to all the goodies inside.

How are college crimes dealt with?

Because many college crimes are committed by first time offenders, there’s a higher rate of leniency when it comes to punishment. How the actual incident is dealt with depends on the severity of the crime. Minor offenses are often handled by campus police. However, when the crime is of a more serious nature, police will often be involved. In these instances, students will need to obtain legal representation with a criminal defense lawyer.

What if you are falsely accused of theft?

Every day, numerous individuals are falsely accused of committing a crime, and college students are no exception. Whether accused out of spite or because of inaccurate information, several college students are wrongfully arrested and charged with theft (among other crimes) each year. Unfortunately, aside from the penalties that a criminal conviction carries, students who are convicted of a crime can also be affected academically. Convicted students may be suspended or even expelled, which is why turning to a criminal lawyer is imperative.

Speaking with a skilled attorney can drastically lower the chances of incurring the maximum penalty for an offense. Hiring a criminal defense attorney is especially important for students who are facing charges and did not actually commit the offense they are being accused of. A lawyer with experience in dealing with college campus crimes will gather all evidence pertaining to the case and will work diligently to prove their client’s innocence.