What is crime prevention?
Crime prevention is defined as “the anticipation, the recognition, and the appraisal of a crime risk and the initiation of action to remove or reduce it.” The first step in crime prevention is to realize that in order to prevent crime or becoming a crime victim we must accept that crime prevention is a shared responsibility. It is not a college problem or a police problem. It is a societal problem that can only be properly addressed by the entire campus community. On a college campus that includes, students, faculty, staff, visitors and neighbors. Therefore, campus safety is truly a shared responsibility.
Three elements must be present for a crime to occur; desire, ability and opportunity. This is also known as the crime triangle. A person may “want” to commit a crime, and have the “ability” to commit a crime, but if we deny them the “opportunity”, then no crime can be committed. Historically, the primary goal of crime prevention has been to apprehend criminals. Although this goal is still important, the goal of preventing crime and also reducing the cost of crime has taken on significant importance. Our goal is to help individuals prevent crime by helping them make decisions in their everyday lives to reduce the opportunity for crime to occur, whether on campus or not.
Colleges and universities throughout the United States and the world are very concerned about providing campus settings that are safe and secure. As a result, most college and universities have established security and police departments that provide a wide array of security and police services and educational and prevention programs. Understanding campus crime prevention and how you can personally increase your chances of having a safe and enjoyable college experience will mutually benefit you and your campus.
Looking for a college or university?
These are some general questions that parents and prospective students can ask when evaluating college or university safety and security. In addition to asking these questions, parents and prospective students should consult other sources when evaluating college and university safety and security, including speaking to campus administrators, students, and reviewing other available information on area crime, etc.
- Does the institution publish campus crime information as required by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Campus Security Act)? If so, obtain a copy. Is the report accurate and complete?
- Is the campus public safety agency adequately resourced (staffing, equipment, budget, etc.)?
- Are the members of the department appropriately trained?
- Is the department empowered to enforce campus policies and/or laws?
- Does the department have a community engagement strategy that allows officers to interact routinely with campus community members?
- Does the campus public safety agency routinely interact with local agencies?
- Are there memorandums of understanding or agreements that outline shared responsibilities?
- Does the institution explore the use of new technologies that can enhance safety and security?
- Does the institution use automated card access, intrusion detection systems, and security video in selected areas to minimize criminal activity and aid in solving crimes?
- Does the institution offer newer technologies, such as those that allow tracking of students in specific situations and personal alarm systems?
- Does the institution have comprehensive, collaborative programs for victims, including advocacy and assistance and counseling programs for troubled students?
- What types of advocacy programs to assist students, who may be victims of crimes, especially sexual assault, exist on campus?
- Does the campus conduct regular programs intended to inform students and other community members about sexual assault prevention?
- What is the college/university approach to alcohol and other drug abuse problems?
- Does the campus have strict policies and disciplinary sanctions for those who violate campus alcohol and drug rules?
- Does the college/university have alcohol or other drug abuse education programs and counseling services and/or rehab program (or does it make one available to students)?
- Does the university have an emergency management plan and team and does it evaluate institutional response to critical incidents?
- Does the institution have a Crisis Communications Plan and is that plan widely distributed to campus community members?
- Does the campus leverage both high-tech communications protocols, such as mass notification systems and low-tech systems such as sirens, loud speakers, etc?
- Are campus first responders able to communicate with off-campus first responders who are likely to respond to a critical incident on campus?
- Can the administration connect with parents or legal guardians during emergency situations?
Personal Safety Tips
Cell phone protection
- Carry your phone with you whenever possible and make sure it is in a safe place whenever you leave it behind. If you are leaving your phone in your car, be sure it is hidden from view.
- Turn off your phone when you are not using it.
- Request a personal identification number.
- Use the "lock" feature on your phone.
- Report a stolen cellular telephone immediately to the cellular telephone carrier and Police.
- Check your monthly bills carefully, and report unfamiliar calls to your cellular phone company.
- Do not give out your electronic serial number or even your phone number to strangers, including callers who represent themselves as technicians testing your line.
- Keep your subscriber agreement, which includes your electronic serial number, in a secure location.
Know how to contact Public Safety or the Police
Know the emergency telephone number for your campus Public Safety or Police department.
- Keep the emergency phone numbers near your phones (stickers, magnets, etc.).
- Program emergency phone numbers into your personal cell phone.
- Learn where the campus emergency telephones (Blue Light Telephones) are located on campus and learn how to use them.
- Learn where other emergency telephones are located throughout campus (chemistry labs. woodworking areas, etc.).
- Insure that you are subscribed to the campus mass notification system on campus.
- Participate in any campus emergency transmitter, whistle, or other safety programs being offered.
Walking around campus
- Familiarize yourself with the layout of the campus. Survey the campus while classes are in session and after dark to see that academic buildings, walkways, facilities, and parking lots are adequately secured and well-lighted.
- Plan the safest route to your destination; choose well-lighted, busy pathways and streets.
- Share your class schedule with your parents and trusted friends and give them your telephone numbers.
- At night, stick to well-lighted areas whenever possible and avoid alleyways or “short cuts” through isolated areas.
- Travel in groups and avoid going out alone at night.
- Use the campus escort or shuttle services at night.
- Know where the emergency call boxes are located on campus and learn how to use them.
- If you are being followed, change direction and go to the nearest business or home; knock on the door, and request that someone call the Police. Note the description of the person following you.
- Walk near the curb and avoid shrubbery or other places of potential concealment.
- Tell a friend or roommate where you are going and what time you expect to return.
- Stay alert to your surroundings and the people around you.
- Carry your purse close to your body and keep a firm grip on it; carry your wallet in an inside coat pocket or your front pant pocket.
- Keep your keys separate from your purse or backpack.
- Don’t overload yourself with bags or packages and avoid wearing shoes that restrict your movements.
- Walk with a confident stride; keep your head up and look around.
- If a motorist stops and asks for directions, keep your distance from the car.
In the residence halls
- Always lock your door; even when you’re sleeping or just going down the hall.
- Do not allow strangers to enter your room or your complex. Do not open your door unless you can identify the person seeking entry.
- Do not let unknown individuals “tailgate”; ask who they are visiting and offer to call Public Safety.
- Do not prop any exterior doors open to allow unescorted visitors into the residence hall (pizza delivery, friends, etc.).
- Report lost or stolen residence hall keys immediately to your residence hall staff.
- Report any malfunctioning locks, doors or windows to your residence life staff.
- Do not leave your keys lying around in your room when you are not in the room.
- Do not leave messages on your door about when you will be returning to your room.
- Tell a roommate or friend if you are planning to be away overnight or for a few days.
- Report any suspicious persons or activities (including solicitors) in or near your residence hall to your residence hall staff, Public Safety or Police.
- Secure your valuables and engrave expensive items with identifying information.
- Always lock your doors and windows at night, especially if you reside on the first or second floors.
- Do not leave your identification, keys, wallets, checkbooks, or other valuables in open view.
- Get to know your RA, residence life staff and neighbors.
Motor vehicle safety
- Park in well lighted areas, where your vehicle is visible; avoid parking next to vans or trucks.
- Keep all items out of sight, especially valuables; remove or place CD players/cases, etc. in the truck.
- Service your vehicle regularly to avoid breakdowns.
- Keep your vehicle locked at all times.
- Consider “The CLUB” or an alarm system.
- When leaving your car for service, remove your other keys.
- Have your key ready when you approach your car. Before getting in, check inside and under your car to make sure no one is hiding.
- Carry a cell phone.
- Never let fuel level get below ¼ tank.
- Drive on well traveled streets and keep your car in gear while it is stopped. Allow at least one car length space between your car and the car in front of you so that you can escape should someone try to get into your car.
- Always be aware of your surroundings and check your rear view mirror often.
- Keep doors locked and windows shut and keep valuables out of sight; either covered or in the trunk.
- If your car breaks down, open the hood and stay inside. If someone stops to help, do not open your window or door, but have him or her call for assistance.
- If you do not know the location of your destination, ask someone for specific directions before you leave.
- If you get lost, do not pull over until you find a well-lit public area, and then call the police.
- If you suspect you are being followed, drive to a well-lit public area and call the police.
- Always carry an emergency kit in your vehicle with first aid supplies, flares, flashlight, jumper cables, blanket, etc.
- Never pick up hitchhikers.
- Beware of people who yell, honk, and point at your car as if something is wrong; if your car breaks down, stay inside and lock the doors. If anyone approaches to help, crack the window and ask them to call the Police. Ask uniformed people to show identification.
- Beware of people who motion and ask you to stop and lend assistance; if you want to assist someone whose car has broken down, go to the nearest phone or use your cell phone and call the Police.
- Beware of people who may bump your vehicle from behind; if you think you were bumped intentionally, signal the other driver to follow you to the nearest police station.
- If a person with a weapon confronts you and wants your vehicle, give it up. No car is worth being injured or losing your life over.
- If traveling in an unknown area leave enough space between your vehicle and the one in front of you to allow room to drive around it if necessary.
- Do not take your eyes off the road.
- Avoid eye contact with an aggressive driver.
- Stay cool; don't react to provocation.
- Distance yourself from drivers behaving erratically.
- Do not make obscene gestures.
- Use your horn sparingly.
- Keep to the right except to pass; don't block passing lane.
- Do not switch lanes without signaling.
- Avoid blocking the right-hand turn lane.
- Do not take more than one parking space.
- If you are not disabled, don't park in a disabled space.
- Be careful to not allow your door to hit the car parked next to you.
- Do not tailgate.
- Avoid unnecessary use of high beam headlights.
- Do not become distracted by a cell phone, CD players, GPS system, etc.
- Do not stop in the road to talk with a pedestrian or other driver.
- Do not expose neighboring cars or others with loud or inappropriate music.
- Assume other drivers' mistakes are not personal.
- Be polite and courteous, even if the other driver isn't.
- Avoid all conflict if possible. If another driver challenges you, take a deep breath and get out of the way.
- Lower your stress by allowing plenty of time for the trip, listening to soothing music, etc.
- Understand that you can't control the traffic, only your reaction to it.
- If you are followed, either drive to the nearest police station or call 911 on your cell phone.
- Finally, if you are tempted to drive irrationally, ask yourself: "Is it worth being killed? Is it worth going to jail?"
Safe walking, jogging or running
- Plan your outing in advance and walk/jog/run in familiar areas.
- Go with a known companion if possible.
- Carry identification.
- Don’t wear jewelry or carry cash.
- Avoid secluded or dimly lighted areas.
- Avoid going after dark.
- Always face the traffic.
- If you’re being followed, cross the street or change directions; keep looking back and get a good description of the person.
- If you’re still being followed, go to the nearest house or business and call the Police.
- Wear bright colors to improve your visibility.
- Change your route and schedule.
- Avoid bushes where a person could hide.
- Take a key with you; do not leave your house or room unlocked; someone could be watching to see when you are not home.
- Carry your cell phone, a whistle or shrill alarm to summon help.
- Do not wear headphones/earphones for an IPod, walkman, etc.
If you are attacked
- Go with your instincts, but be realistic about your ability to fight off someone; your instinct may be to run, scream, kick, hit or bite. However you decide to respond, be sure you do so with full commitment of your effort.
- If a weapon is displayed, don’t resist. Give up your property and save your life however throw the property as far as possible away from you and run in the opposite direction.
- Do what you are told and don’t make any sudden moves.
- Try to remember as many details as possible and alert Public Safety or the Police as soon as possible.
- Your goal should be to escape safety and survive; cooperate if you think that resisting may lead to further harm however do not enter a vehicle with the perpetrator. Your chances of survival are reduced once you are inside.
- Remember every situation is different; you are the only one that can decide the appropriate course of action.
- Constantly play the “what if” game to think about what you would do in a particular threatening situation. This will help prepare you to respond instinctively when a threat is encountered.
- After an event, never feel guilty about what you did or did not do.
Bicycle safety and protection
- Use a bike light when riding a bicycle at night.
- Wear a helmet at all times when riding a bicycle.
- Obey all traffic laws; you must stop at intersections; pedestrians have the right of way.
- Pay attention to your surroundings; warn pedestrians when you are passing them.
- Take extra care when passing parking lot exits or driving through parking lots.
- Give proper hand signals when turning or stopping.
- Before leaving a lane, give a hand signal. Leave the lane only when safe to do so.
- Secure your bicycle with a heavy duty U-lock or chain. When possible, lock at least your front wheel and frame to a bike rack or other stationary object.
- Do not park your bicycle in a doorway, on stairs, or blocking any handicapped access. Use a bike rack.
- Engrave or permanently mark your bicycle with an identifying number and record that number with Public Safety or the Police.
- Never give your password to anyone.
- Change your password frequently.
- Do not allow others access to your email account.
- Monitor your access time; by keeping track of when and how long you were on a computer system, it will be obvious if someone has gained access to your account.
- Be wary of anonymous “re-mailers”.
- Do not put personal information or photos on your web page and do not give personal information that can identify where you live to social networking sites.
- Never leave your computer/laptop unattended.
- Engrave markings on your computer.
- Shop online only with companies that you know; check with the Better Business Bureau if unsure.
- Use a secure browser that will encrypt or scramble purchase information or pay with a money order or check.
- Update your virus software regularly, or when new versions are available.
- Do not download files sent to you by strangers or click on hyper links from people you don’t know.
- Make certain that all your personal information is deleted from your computer prior to disposing of it.
- Monitor your children’s internet access and consider installing blocking software.
Describing a suspect or a vehicle
- Direction of Travel
- Suspect Information:
- Adult/Juvenile/Approximate Age
- Hair Color
- Eye Color
- Mustache, beard, sideburns or other facial hair
- Tattoos, scars or other identifying marks
- Gait, limp or amputations
- Shirt type/color
- Pants type/color
- Automobile Information:
- Body style (2-door, 4-door, convertible, truck, etc.)
- License plate number
- Distinguishing features (spoiler, racing stripes, tinting, damage, etc.)
- Take a self-defense course. If female see if a Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) course is offered.
- Keep emergency numbers near your phone. Better yet; remember them!
- Lock all doors and windows every time you leave your room/apartment/home, even if you plan to be gone for just a minute.
- Keep house and car keys on separate rings.
- Do not lend your keys to service/maintenance people you do not know well.
- Always ask service/maintenance people to identify themselves before allowing them to enter your room/apartment/home.
- Get to know your neighbors so you can help each other.
- Do not keep large sums of money, jewelry, or valuable items in plain view in your room/apartment/home.
- When out of town, set radios, lights, and televisions on timers.
- If you are living off campus, leave spare keys with trusted neighbors, not under a doormat or in a flower planter.
- Try to avoid entering elevators occupied by strangers. If you are waiting for an elevator with a stranger, stand away from the door to avoid being pushed inside. Get off on the next floor if you feel uneasy. Hit the alarm button if you are accosted on an elevator.
- Report any broken or malfunctioning locks to the facilities department.
- Avoid dark, vacant, or deserted areas; use well-lit routes.
- Avoid walking/jogging/running alone, especially at night. Ask a friend to go with you. Call Public Safety to accompany you around campus during evening hours.
- Dress in clothes and shoes that will not hamper movement.
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid wearing headsets that impair your ability to detect and respond to potentially dangerous situations.
- Report suspicious activity or noises immediately.
- Carry a noise-making device with you at all times, and use it if you suspect you are in danger. Move to a lit area or building and raise a commotion. Call 911 or activate a blue light emergency phone in the event of an emergency.
If you sense trouble
- Move away from the potential threat if possible; cross the street and increase your pace.
- Join a group of people nearby.
- If a threatening situation is imminent and people are close by, yell, scream or do whatever you can to get their attention. Remember, dialing 911 and or/activating a fire alarm are both part of the personal safety system. 911 calls are free from most pay phones, and blue light emergency phones are usually located in many areas on campus and simply require a push of a button to notify emergency services of your situation.
- If you are facing an armed criminal, you may minimize the risk of injury to yourself if you comply with the criminal's demands. However, if your life is in immediate danger, use any defense you can to get away.
- Dial 911 immediately and give a description of the suspect
Obscene and annoying phone calls
- Hang up as soon as you realize the nature of the call. Do not try to find out who the caller is, even if you think it is a friend playing a joke.
- Use your answering machine to screen calls. You can also record an obscene phone call with the memo feature on some answering machines.
- If the calls occur frequently, keep a log of exactly when the call was received and what both parties said. Describe the type of voice and note any background noises.
- Consider changing your phone number and depersonalizing your answering machine message.
- Consider purchasing a machine that requires an access code before your phone will ring.
- If the calls continue, contact Public Safety or the Police.
Automatic teller machines
- Try to use ATMs during daylight hours. If you must go at night, do not go alone.
- Avoid ATMs that are not well lit or clearly visible from the street.
- Be aware of people loitering or sitting in cars around ATMs.
- Prepare your transaction ahead of time. Do not spend much time at the machine.
- Do not give out your Personal Identification Number (PIN) to anyone! Many thieves will attempt to steal your PIN number by calling you on the phone and claiming they are the police, security officers, or bank officers. Memorize it and do not keep a written copy of it in your wallet.
- Either keep your ATM receipt or tear it up and throw it away.
Protecting yourself from identity theft
- Destroy private records and statements. Destroy credit card statements, solicitations and other documents that contain any private information. Shred this paperwork using a "cross-cut" shredder so thieves can't find your data when they rummage through your garbage. Also, don't leave a paper trail; never leave ATM, credit card or gas station receipts behind.
- Secure your mail. Empty your mailbox quickly, lock it or get a P.O. Box so criminals don't have a chance to steal credit card offers. Never mail outgoing bill payments and checks from an unsecured mailbox, especially at home. They can be stolen from your mailbox and the payee's name erased with solvents. Mail them from the post office or another secure location.
- Safeguard your Social Security number. Never carry your card with you, or any other card that may have your number, like a health insurance card or school issued ID. Don't put your number on your checks; your SSN is the primary target for identity thieves because it gives them access to your credit report and bank accounts. There are very few entities that can actually demand your SSN - the Department of Motor Vehicles, for example. Also, SSNs are required for transactions involving taxes, so that means banks, brokerages, employers, and the like also have a legitimate need for your SSN.
- Safeguard your computer. Protect your computer from viruses and spies. Use complicated passwords; frequently update antivirus software and spyware. Surf the Web cautiously. Shop only at trustworthy web sites and be wary of obscure sites or any site you've never used before.
- Know who you're dealing with. Whenever you are contacted, either by phone or email, by individuals identifying themselves as banks, credit card or e-commerce companies and asked for private identity or financial information, do not respond. Legitimate companies do not contact you and ask you to provide personal data such as PINs, user names and passwords or bank account information over the phone or Internet. If you think the request is legitimate, contact the company yourself by calling customer service using the number on your account statement or in the telephone book and confirm what you were told before revealing any of your personal data.
- Take your name off marketers' hit lists. In addition to the national Do Not Call Registry (1-888-382-1222 or https://www.donotcall.gov), you also can reduce credit card solicitations for five years by contacting an opt-out service run by the three major credit bureaus: (888) 5-OPT OUT or https://www.optoutprescreen.com. You'll need to provide your Social Security number as an identifier.
- Monitor your credit report. Each year, obtain and thoroughly review your credit report from the three major credit bureaus; Equifax (800-685-1111), Experian (883-397-3742) and TransUnion (800-680-4213) or at https://www.annualcreditreport.com) to look for suspicious activity. If you spot something, alert your card company or the creditor immediately.
- Review your bank and credit card statements carefully. Look for unauthorized charges or withdrawals and report them immediately. Make sure you recognize the merchants, locations and purchases listed before paying the bill. If you don't need or use department store or bank-issued credit cards, consider closing the accounts.
- Keep track of your billing dates/cycles and follow up with creditors if you don’t receive bills/statements on time.
- Use random letters and numbers for passwords; don’t use your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, your graduation date, your social security number or any other familiar letters or numbers that can be associated with you as passwords.
- Be aware of how ID thieves can get your information. They get information from businesses or other institutions by stealing records, bribing employees with access to records, hacking into computers, rummaging through trash, posing as a landlord, employer, or someone else who may have a legal right to the information, stealing credit and debit card numbers as your card is processed by using a special information storage device ("skimming"), stealing wallets and purses containing identification and credit or bank cards, stealing mail, including bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, new checks, or tax information or completing a "change of address form" to divert your mail to another location.
If your identity is stolen
- Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus. Tell them that you're an identity theft victim. Request that a "fraud alert" be placed in your file, along with a victim's statement asking that creditors call you before opening any new accounts or changing your existing accounts.
Contact the creditors for any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Speak with someone in the security/fraud department of each creditor, and follow up with a letter. If your Social Security number has been used illegally, contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271. File a report with Public Safety or the Police in the community where the identity theft took place. Get a copy of the police report in case the bank, credit-card company, or others need proof of the crime. Keep records of everything involved in your efforts to clear up fraud, including copies of written correspondence and records of telephone calls.
- Equifax To report fraud: 1-800-525-6285 (P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241),
- Experian To report fraud: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742) (P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013), and
- TransUnion To report fraud: 1-800-680-7289 (Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634)
- Computer phishing is a crime. Phishers attempt to fraudulently acquire credit card details and other sensitive personal data via bogus email or pop-up windows. It may look like a legitimate email from a legitimate institution, but beware of unsolicited requests for information.
- Financial or payment institutions will never request that you send them personal sensitive data via email or pop up windows.
- If you receive a suspicious looking email from any bank, lending, or payment institution, it is best to delete and not respond. If, by coincidence, you have an account with the entity mentioned in the email, call your legitimate institution using the number on your physical bill or via the telephone book or through telephone information.
- Do not call the number that may be listed in the bogus email and do not click on any link listed in the bogus email
- If a deal sounds too good to be true; it probably is.
- Be wary of any get rich quick scheme that wants you to invest money in advance.
- Never give out your credit card information over the phone unless you made the call.
- Do not buy on the spur of the moment; take time to research the company or product.
- If you are approached by a possible con artist or unauthorized solicitor, report the incident immediately to Public Safety or the Police.
Considering moving off-campus?
- How safe will your commute be to campus (escort service, shuttle service, etc.)?
- Do security/police patrol the grounds/buildings?
- Is an intercom system used or are peep holes installed in doors?
- Are there emergency phones?
- Are adjacent properties maintained?
- How secure are the locks/doors?
- How often are the locks changed?
- Are there dead bolt locks on the exterior doors?
- Is parking adequate and safe?
- Are there secluded or dark areas near the buildings?
- Is there a Neighborhood Watch program?
- Is there an adequate fire safety detection and evacuation system in place?
Using public transportation
- Try to avoid isolated bus or train stops and times when few people are around.
- Stay away from the curb until bus/train arrives.
- Have the exact fare or ticket/pass ready as you board the bus.
- If possible, sit near the driver and notify him or her of any problems.
- A crowded bus is a prime target for pick pockets; carry your bags close and carry your wallet in your coat or front pant pocket.
- If someone is bothering or harassing you, move to another seat location and/or tell the person in a loud voice to “STAY AWAY”.
- Don’t fall asleep on a bus or shuttle.
- Remain on the bus/train if you are uncomfortable with getting off.
- All windows should be secured with anti-slide devices.
- Secure sliding glass doors with a lock or bar, or place a piece of wood or broom handle in the track.
- Move valuables so they cannot be seen from porch windows.
- Never leave a house key hidden outside your home.
- Install a wide-angle door viewer on all main doors.
- Fasten air conditioners units securely to the windowsill or window frame so they can’t be removed from the outside.
- Mid and high-rise residents should release the front door only to visitors who positively identify themselves.
- Arrange for an unlisted telephone number.
- Do not put your name on the outside of your residence mailbox and do not leave notes on outside doors.
- Limit the amount of landscaping near your windows or doors to eliminate possible areas of concealment.
- Consider a bank safety deposit box or fire-proof safe for valuable documents and items.
- When leaving your dorm room, home, or office, lock doors and windows even if you will be gone for "just a minute."
- Never leave your purse, wallet, or valuables exposed; store them out of sight. Be especially careful with your credit cards, which are very popular items among thieves because they are usually easy to steal and then use again. Consider obtaining a credit card with your photo imprinted on it.
- Computers, especially if they are portable, are primary targets of theft. Consider the purchase of a locking security or tracking device.
- Contact Public Safety to borrow engravers; engrave computers, stereos, and televisions with your driver's license number (including home state) or department name. Do not engrave on removable serial number plates.
- Keep a list of all items and serial numbers in a safe place.
- Never prop open a locked door.
Vandalism and graffiti
- Report all vandalism and graffiti immediately.
- In addition to being illegal and costly, much vandalism and graffiti may also be bias, hate or gang related.
Safety at work
- If you’re working late, let someone know where you are and how long you expect to be; or better yet, plan in advance to have a co-worker stay with you.
- Keep your purse or wallet locked in a drawer or filing cabinet at all times.
- Politely ask strangers who they are visiting and offer to help find the person; if you are suspicious of the person contact Public Safety or the Police.
- Check the identification of any maintenance or repair personnel.
- Keep emergency phone numbers posted near your phone.
- Know your office emergency evacuation plan.
- If possible, employees should wear IDs.
- Be cautious if using restrooms, elevators or stairwells that are isolated or poorly lit; or go with a friend.
- Keep money, checkbooks, or other valuable items out of sight.
- Report any suspicious, threatening or alarming behavior of others to your supervisor or Public Safety/Police immediately.
- Do not loan your office keys to anyone and report lost or stolen keys immediately to your supervisor and the security/police department.
- Ask strangers in your office to identify themselves.
- Record the serial numbers, brand names and descriptions of property or valuables that are kept in your office. Keep a duplicate copy of this information and a photo of the item at another location. It can be used later to recover stolen property.
- Insure that all university property is properly engraved; for personal items, engrave your driver's license number and home state on the item.
Letter and package bomb indicators
Detecting suspicious packages/letters
- The item does not have to be delivered by a carrier; most bombers set up and deliver the bomb themselves.
- If delivered by carrier, inspect for lumps, bulges, or protrusions, without applying pressure.
- If delivered by carrier, balance check if lopsided or heavy sided.
- Handwritten addresses or labels from companies are improper. Check to see if the company exists and if they sent a package or letter.
- Packages wrapped in string are automatically suspicious, as modern packaging materials have eliminated the need for twine or string.
- Excess postage on small packages or letters indicates that the object was not weighed by the Post Office.
- No postage or non-canceled postage.
- Any foreign writing, addresses, or postage.
- Handwritten notes, such as: "To Be Opened in the Privacy of", "CONFIDENTIAL", etc.
- Improper spelling of common names, places, or titles.
- Generic or incorrect titles.
- Leaks, stains, or protruding wires, string, tape, etc.
- Hand delivered or dropped off for a friend packages or letters.
- No return address or nonsensical return address.
- Any letters or packages arriving before or after a phone call from an unknown person asking if the item was received.
Active shooter (Workplace/Campus Violence)
If you are involved in a situation where someone has entered the area and started shooting; the following are a list of actions that are recommended:
- If possible exit the building/area immediately, but only if it can be done safely.
- Notify anyone you may encounter to exit the building immediately.
- Notify Public Safety or Police.
- Give the following information:
- Your name
- Your phone number
- Location of the incident (be as specific as possible)
- Number of shooters
- Identification of shooter
- Number of persons who may be involved
- Your location
If exiting the building/area is not possible, the following actions are recommended:
- Go to the nearest room or office.
- Close and lock the door.
- If unable to lock the door, use a wedge device or heavy furniture to block the door; a belt or other objects may be able to wedge the door shut.
- Cover the door windows.
- Depending upon the shooters location, exit out the window quietly and quickly.
- Stay low, move away from the door, keep quiet and act as if no one is in the room.
- DO NOT answer the door.
- Notify the Public Safety or Police.
- Provide information as needed.
- Wait for the Police to assist your exit from the building:
- Follow all instructions by police officers
- Police may not know if the shooter is hiding among you, therefore police may search you and your belongings for everyone's safety.
If you are trapped with the shooter, you need to decide whether to:
- Stay still and play dead.
- Run for an exit in a zigzagging pattern, or
- Attack the shooter.
- Trust your instincts. Check out a first date or blind date with friends first. Better yet, go with other friends on your first date.
- Always have a plan to get yourself home. Carry money for a taxi or public transportation in case your date is cut short; bring a cell phone also.
- Know what you want sexually and don’t send mixed messages.
- Trust your instincts about situations to avoid.
- Be clear and responsible in your communications with others. If you are getting a double message-or if the person is in no condition to give consent –don’t have sex
- Be forceful, firm and assertive. Don’t worry about being polite if someone is not respecting your wishes.
- If you go out with other friends, don’t get separated; watch out for each other.
- Do not lose self control or impair your judgment by the use or abuse of alcohol or drugs.
- “No” means “NO”. It does not mean maybe.
- If someone is unable to give consent it is called sexual assault or rape.
- Never be drawn in to a gang rape situation.
On line dating
- Never give personal information to people that you don’t know (name, home address, phone number, etc.).
- If you decide to talk to someone on the phone don’t give out your number; call them and use caller ID block.
- Use a nickname in chat rooms or message boards.
- Meet chat friends in public places and with other friends; take a cell phone with you.
- Never go to someone’s room, apartment or house that you just met.
- Not drinking is an option.
- Intoxication seriously impairs your physical and mental abilities and makes you an easy target for becoming a crime victim.
- Drinking impairs our ability to make good decisions concerning our safety.
- Individuals and groups under the influence of alcohol will do many dangerous or illegal things that sober people would never consider.
- If you drink, don’t drive; always have a designated driver.
- If you have problems when you drink, you are probably a problem drinker.
- Alcoholism is a disease; if you or someone close to you needs help, contact your Counseling Center, Health Center, Public Safety or Police department to determine your best available resource.
- Never leave your drink unattended.
- Never accept a drink from anyone but the server at the bar.
- Attend parties with friends and look out for one another.
- If you think your drink has been tampered with, let someone know and go directly to the hospital.
- Control your amount of drinking.
- Never drink and drive; always have a Designated Driver!
If you are a victim/survivor of sexual assault or rape
- Seek help immediately. Call the local Rape Crisis hotline or contact RAINN 1-800-656-HOPE to be directed. You are not at fault. Do not feel guilty or try to forget what happened; it is a crime and should be reported.
- Do not shower, wash or change clothing; valuable evidence could be destroyed. Get medical attention as soon as possible, preferably within 72 hours for physical injuries sustained, sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) pregnancy prevention (if applicable), and the collection and preservation of evidence crucial to pursuing criminal action.
- If you think you’ve been assaulted while under the influence of an unknown drug (GHB, etc.) seek help immediately. Try not to urinate before providing a urine sample and if possible collect any glasses that you drank from.
- Seek counseling and support to deal with emotional trauma; RAINN (The Rape Abuse Incest National Network) or your local Rape Crisis Service, Public Safety or the Police will be able to assist with determining the best available resources.
- If you leave campus during school holidays store your bicycle with Student Housing.
- If you leave your car on campus find out where you are supposed to park it and remove all valuables from it.
- Place valuables that you cannot take with you out of sight in your room/apartment/home and unplug all appliances before you leave.
- Park your car in a well-lit location and leave your keys and contact information with a trusted friend.
- If you stay on campus during holidays or the summer be alert to any suspicious persons around the residence halls, bike racks, or parking lots.
- Call Public Safety or the Police immediately to report any unusual activity.
If you live off campus and are leaving for vacation
- Lock doors and windows securely.
- Turn your telephone ringers down low so a burglar won't be alerted to your absence by its ringing.
- Make your house/apartment look occupied; have a friend or neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers, set televisions and lights on timers, leave your blinds, shades, and curtains in their normal positions, and keep your lawn mowed and watered.
- Leave your vacation phone number, address, and itinerary with a trusted friend so you can be reached in case of an emergency.
Studying or traveling abroad
- Gain as much information as possible about the county that you will be traveling to.
Visit the following websites:
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_4965.html (Entry Requirements)
www.travel.state.gov/consularnotification. (Consular Information Sheets)
www.cdc.gov/travel (Inoculation Requirements)
- Check your medical health insurance coverage.
- Make two extra copies of all your travel information (passport, airline tickets, etc.); leave one set at home with a relative or close friend and take a copy with you.
- Know your credit card limits.
- Make certain that a trusted family member is aware of the location of all your legal papers; legal will, insurance documents, mortgage information, internet/cell phone passwords, etc.
- Leave valuable or expensive looking jewelry at home.
- Do not bring large amounts of cash; use traveler’s checks or credit cards.
- Take a list of all important telephone numbers (family, U.S. Embassy and Consulate, campus emergency numbers).
- When you arrive, secure a copy of your important information in a safe and secure location.
- Bring an extra pair of prescription glasses.
- Pack your medical prescriptions in their original containers.
- Mark all luggage on the inside and outside with your name, address and telephone number; if possible cover your outside luggage tags.
Keeping kids safe
- Teach kids how to use the telephone for emergencies.
- Help kids memorize important phone numbers.
- Teach kids to not talk or play with someone they don’t know.
- Teach kids to not accept a ride or gifts from someone they don’t know.
- Make sure your kids know where to go for an emergency.
- Instruct your kids to tell you if anyone touches or speaks to them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Know where your kids are, who they are with, and when they will be back.
- Enroll your kids in a first aid or babysitting course.
Parenting about alcohol and drugs
- Learn about the current alcohol and drugs of choice and talk to your kids.
- Listen; let them share their feelings and experiences.
- Learn the laws and remind them of the consequences of getting caught.
- Refer your kids for medical and physiological evaluations as necessary.
Helping a crime victim
- Don’t blame or judge the victim.
- Let the victim know that you are sorry for what happened.
- Offer the support of a professional counselor.
- Tend to the immediate physical or emotional needs of the victim.
- Do not disturb any crime scenes.
- Offer to support the victim if they decide to contact the police.
- Listen to the victim if they are willing to talk about the crime.
- Help with transportation, babysitting, cooking or other everyday needs.
- Offer to accompany the victim to the police station, hospital or courts.
- Tell the victim you will continue to be there for support and follow up with him/her later.
REMEMBER: a safe campus is everyone’s responsibility!