Safety and Crime Prevention Programming, Educational Services and Resources

Personal Safety

On campus

  • Avoid dark, vacant, or deserted areas. If you are followed or see suspicious activity, move to a lighted area or create a commotion. Contact the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management (Public Safety) by using a blue light or other emergency telephone.
  • Avoid walking alone at night if at all possible. Call Public Safety at 274-3333, have a friend escort you, or use a blue-light phone to call for escorts. If you do walk alone, follow the tips below.
    • Avoid jogging alone, day or night.
    • Don't hitchhike, day or night.
    • Dress in clothes and shoes that will allow you to move quickly.
    • Tuck gold chains and other jewelry inside your clothing.
    • If you carry a purse, briefcase, or backpack, keep only a small amount of cash in it. If possible, do not carry a purse.
    • Carry keys, identification, and anything else of value on your person.
    • Carry a noise-making device -- such as a whistle -- and have it ready to use.
    • Be alert, observant, and aware of your surroundings and other people around you.
    • Report any suspicious persons or circumstances on campus to Public Safety by calling 4-3333 or 911.

Off campus

  • Leave spare keys with a trusted neighbor; never leave them hidden around the exterior of your apartment.
  • Always identify visitors before letting them inside your residence. Request identification before you open the door.
  • Report to the police any unusual or suspicious activity or persons near your apartment or around neighbors' apartments.
  • Arrange for service people to come when someone else will be present.
  • In an apartment building, avoid isolated areas (stairways, laundry rooms, basement, etc.) when you are alone.

Walking alone

  • Use well-traveled routes.
  • Be aware of what is going on around you.
  • Walk purposefully and briskly.
  • Walk in the center of the sidewalk, away from buildings, doorways, hedges, and parked cars.
  • When possible, walk on the side of the street facing oncoming traffic. If you are walking with traffic and a car going in the same direction pulls up next to you, reverse your direction.
  • Avoid traveling the same route every day.
  • If a stranger tries to engage you in a conversation, use discretion before stopping to talk. It is a good idea to say that you are in a hurry to meet someone.
  • Have the key to your home ready as you approach your door.
  • If you are dropped off by a taxi or someone in an automobile, ask the driver to wait until you are safely inside.

Using elevators

  • Avoid entering an elevator occupied by a suspicious- or intoxicated-looking stranger.
  • If someone in the elevator makes you feel uneasy, get off at the next floor.
  • If you are accosted in an elevator, hit the alarm button and as many floor buttons as possible.
  • Do not attempt to pry open doors, tamper with the control panel, or overload the car.

Handling harassing and obscene phone calls

  • The best response to an obscene phone call is to hang up as soon as you realize the nature of the call. Don't try to find out who the call is from -- even if you think the caller is just a friend playing a joke.
  • If calls occur repeatedly, keep a log in which you record the date and time each call is received, exactly what the caller said, what you said, and a description of the voice (young, old, hoarse, accented, etc.) and background noises. To report an obscene or harassing phone call to the police, dial Public Safety at 274-3333.

If you sense a potential threat

  • Assess the situation, then take action. You will have to decide how immediate the threat is and how drastic your action should be.
  • Move away from the potential threat.
  • Join any group of people nearby. If no one else is nearby, cross the street and speed up your pace.
  • Go to a well-lighted public place and call the police immediately.
  • If you believe a threat is imminent and you see people nearby to help you, yell, scream, or create a commotion in any way you can. Remember that the blue-light emergency telephones, indoor emergency telephones, and fire alarms are all part of the personal safety system.
  • If you see someone else in trouble, call Public Safety (911) immediately.

After you have avoided a threatening situation, call Public Safety immediately and report any and all details of the incident.

  • Describe the suspect's appearance: clothing, height, weight, skin coloring, scars, or marks.
  • Describe where the incident took place.
  • If the suspect was on a bicycle or in a car, describe the vehicle, license plate number, and direction of escape.