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.
Know how to contact Public Safety or the police
Know the emergency telephone number for your campus Public Safety (292-2911) or police department (911).
- 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.
- Insure that you are subscribed to the campus mass notification system (MCC Alert).
- Participate in any campus emergency 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-lit, 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-lit 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 service 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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
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
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.
- 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.
- Keep emergency phone numbers posted near your phone.
- Know your office emergency evacuation plan.
- 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.
Active Threat (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 if safe to use phone.
- 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 if possible and safe to do so.
- 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 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, or
- Attack the shooter.
On line safety
- 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.
- 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.
Studying or traveling abroad
- Gain as much information as possible about the county that you will be traveling to.
Visit the following websites:
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.