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Campus Safety:

Avoid working or studying alone in a building at night.

Avoid using stairs in remote sections of a building.

Keep personal belongings in view while in class, the library, or lab.

When in an elevator, position yourself next to the controls. Having a stranger in control of the emergency stop switch could be dangerous.

Do not rely on "on campus" crime statistics if you want to learn about crime in the area. "On campus" covers only the classrooms and dorms. It does not include fraternities, sororities, social areas, student apartments, etc. Students spend a majority of their time "off campus" and a high percentage live off campus.

Dorm Safety:

Lock your doors at all times, even when you are just going next door or to the bathroom. Most thefts occur in under one minute.

Keep cash and jewelry in a locked drawer, cabinet or closet.

Never prop doors open, especially fire doors, even for a short time.

Do not allow strangers into dorms.

In a residential hall, screaming can sound like partying. In an emergency, be specific by shouting "help," "police," or "fire."

Keep your blinds closed to avoid advertising your life.

Do not leave your name on your answering machine.

Do not carry personal identification on your key chain.

Home/Apartment Safety:

List only initials and last name on mailbox.

Do not list your address in the phone book. The phone company can handle this upon request.

Always change locks when moving to a new place.

Install solid core/metal outside doors with metal strikes, dead bolts, and peepholes.

Windows are burglars' second choice. Install safeguards on every window that can be reached from the outside; window alarms are easy to install and difficult to remove.

Alarms trumpet the arrival of an intruder. You can check on the internet to find companies that sell door jams, alarms for windows and doors, and a sliding glass door alarm. If possible, invest in an alarm with a motion detector.

Have a phone in each room so that help is always within reach.

Keep shrubbery trimmed so as not to provide a cover for a burglar.

Get a dog! Dogs are great alarms, and most criminals won't risk a confrontation with a dog of any size.

Don't open your door to a stranger, including door-to-door salespeople. Verbally answering through the closed door lets them know that the apartment is not empty. If the stranger is wearing a uniform, make them show you identification. If in doubt, have them wait outside while you call their company for verification.

If a stranger asks to use your phone, ask for the number and make the call while they wait outside. Furthermore, if some one dials your number by mistake, do not reveal your phone number, simply advise them to try their number again.

Do not leave a key under a doormat or flower pot, or in the mailbox or the ignition of your parked car. Burglars know all of the hiding places!

Do not carry an identification tag with your address on your key chain.

Leave only your ignition key with a parking attendant or repairman, as they could make a copy of your home key.

Lock doors at all times, even when home.

Leave outside lights on at night and close your curtains. Many rapes are crimes of opportunity. A rapist spots and watches his victim through a lighted window.

At night, when home alone, turn the lights on in several rooms to give the appearance that there are people in several rooms.

Get to know your neighbors. This will make it easier to spot strangers. When leaving your apartment, look around the area outside the apartment before exiting.

ATM Safety:

If possible, have another person accompany you when using your ATM or making a night deposit.

After dark, use an ATM/night deposit that is well-lit. Try to use a drive up or one inside a supermarket, when possible. When at a drive-up ATM, lock your vehicle doors. Take your keys when you leave your car.

Be alert and cautious of anyone loitering around the ATM/night deposit.

Always have an emergency plan of action in your mind. And stay alert to everything that is going on around you.

Complete your transaction quickly, put your money away and leave immediately. Always take your receipt as it has your account number on it.

Protect the Personal Identification Number that you use with your ATM. Do not write it on the card, and stand in front of the machine when entering the number so no one can see it.

Exercise Safety:

Never exercise alone at night outdoors.

Exercise with a friend.

Avoid unpopulated areas, such as woods and deserted campuses.

Carry a personal safety device, such as a sound siren, mace or red pepper gas.

Stay away from public parks at night.

Stalking Safety:

Do not give into stalkers' demands to avoid becoming their prisoners.

Give stalkers specific rejections. Be blunt about not wanting anything to do with them.

Document dates and times of phone calls and instances of being followed.

File police reports.

Work with the police.

Consider carrying a portable cellular phone so you can call for help.

Rape Crisis Centers offer support groups for rape and stalking victims. Contact your local center.

Walking/Street Safety:

Walk on the part of the sidewalk closest to the street, as far away as possible from shrubs, trees, and doorways.

Stay near people. Whenever possible, appear to be with a group of people.

Stay in well lit areas.

Avoid short cuts through parks, vacant lots, woods, alleys and other deserted areas.

Stay away from public parks at night.

Walk at a steady pace, appear confident and purposeful. An attacker expects a passive victim, so if you walk slowly, you will seem vulnerable to an attack.

Be alert to what is around you, listening for footsteps and voices nearby.

If you think you are being followed, don't go home! Head for the nearest populated and lighted place.

Change your pace; if the person changes pace to stay behind you, cross the street, get to lighted areas, draw attention to yourself and seek help.

If possible, step into a nearby store or walk to a crowded area such as a bus stop.

When being followed by a vehicle, quickly turn around and walk in the opposite direction.

Keep more than an arms distance from vehicles, even if they are only asking for directions.

Never hitchhike. Never! Once you're alone in a car with a stranger, you've lost control of the situation. Never get into a stranger's vehicle, even if your car breaks down. Stay in your locked vehicle, ask the stranger to stop and call the police, or a wrecker service, to come and help you.

Do not go out at night alone. If you are alone, stay away from shopping malls, convenience stores and grocery store parking lots. If you must go, don't walk into the parking lot alone. Have a security guard escort you or follow closely behind someone else.

After being out on the town, ask a friend, or a bar or restaurant employee to walk you to your car.

When returning to your car, be alert to anyone under or around your car and look inside before getting in.


Take precautions. When walking alone, make sure you have some type of deterrent device and be ready to use it. Some examples are:

Make sure that you know how to use any defense items you may be carrying.

Personal safety and Defense classes give you mental and physical preparedness. Contact the Rape Crisis Center or the University Crime Prevention Department for information.

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Copyright Will Lamkin
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