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Safety Guidelines and Recommendations

On the street

  • Don't walk alone after dark. Use the buddy system.
  • Be alert! Look around you; be aware of who is on the street and in the area. Make it difficult for anyone to take you by surprise.
  • Stay on populated, well lighted streets.
  • If you think someone is following you, turn around and check; the surprise of a hostile look or aggressive word might change a potential attacker's mind. You can also head for people, lights, traffic, or run and scream. Yelling "fire" may get more results than yelling "help".
  • Whenever possible, it's a good idea to "dress for safety." This means wearing loose-fitting clothing and comfortable shoes that making walking and running easier.
  • On frequently traveled routes, note the location of emergency telephones or call boxes in public garages and parking lots before you ever need them.
  • If you are near a public hone, call 911 whenever you feel that you're in danger.
  • If a car follows you or stops, change directions; walk or run toward people, stores, or a house if necessary.
  • Carry noise making devices (i.e. whistles, body alarms).

Outdoors after dark

  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Always follow well-lighted paths. Stay out of shadows.
  • Walk with a group whenever possible.
  • Avoid isolated places, both day and night. If you must work or study alone on weekends or holidays in offices, labs, or out-of-the-way places, lock the doors and tell a friend and the Campus Police where you are.
  • Park your car in a well-lighted area and as close as possible to your destination.
  • Call the Campus Police and request an escort.

At home

  • Ask local police to conduct a safety check of your home. This service is free.
  • Install good locks in doors and windows. Door chains are unsafe, so use deadbolts for grater security.
  • Be aware of hiding places such as tall bushes.
  • Put away burglary tools, like ladders.
  • Never advertise that you are not at home. Answering machine messages should never include statements like "I'm not at home now..."
  • Likewise, never advertise that you are home alone.
  • Never put personal identification tags on your key ring. Your lost key ring will be of no value to a criminal unless she/he can find the locks that your keys fit.
  • Pull shades or curtains after dark.
  • List last name and initials only on mailbox, doors, in the phone book, etc.
  • If you let someone in and then have second thoughts, pretend that you are not alone.
  • Don't give out information about yourself or make appointments with strangers over the phone.
  • Get together with a first-time date, study partner, etc., in a public place.
  • Make sure that hallways, entrances, garages, and grounds are well-lighted. Use timers or photosensitive devices.
  • Never open the door without first checking to see who is there. Repair persons, salespeople, police, and survey takers carry identification - ask to see it before letting them in. If someone wants to use your phone, offer to make the call while he/she waits outside.
  • Leave your spare house key with a friend, not under the doormat.
  • When away from home at night, or if you expect to return home after dark, leave an interior light on in a room or two with the shades drawn.
  • Avoid using laundry rooms alone. Learn to time the wash and dry cycle. Return when the load is finished.

On a date

  • Acquaintance and date rape occurs more frequently on college campuses than does rape by strangers. A recent survey found that 25% of all female college students surveyed were victims of rape or attempted rape, and that 84% of those raped knew their attackers. In another survey, more than 30% of the male college students admitted to using force of emotional pressure to obtain sex.
  • Dates must communicate clearly with each other. Explicit consent should be obtained/granted before sexual activity begins. If an acquaintance or date initiates sexual activity, clearly indicate whether or not you wish this activity to continue. Give or deny consent.

A friendly stranger

  • Many attacks start with casual conversation. The attacker is sizing up the situation to see how easily intimidation can be applied. If you are polite and friendly, the attacker may proceed to intimidate you.
  • Although most people would recognize something strange about an encounter long before intimidation would begin, many ignore their intuition because they don't want to be unfriendly or suspicious.
  • Trust your instincts! if your gut reaction to a person makes you uneasy, get out of the situation as quickly as possible, even if it means being rude.

At work

  • Keep your purse or wallet close to you.
  • You are most vulnerable before or after hours.
  • Avoid using elevators with strangers. If someone enters and you feel uncomfortable - get off!
  • Stand next to the button panel. If attacked, press all of the floor buttons. This will allow the elevator to open at all floors allowing you to escape.
  • Leave personal belongings at home.
  • Record all equipment serial numbers
  • If staying late, relocate your car closer to the building while coworkers are still present.
  • Keep your office door locked during non-business hours

In the car

  • Walk to your car with your keys ready.
  • Park in well-lighted areas at night. Consider paying for parking.
  • Check beneath the car and in the back seat before you get in to make sure that no one is hiding there.
  • While driving, keep the doors locked at all times so that a person can't jump in at a red light.
  • Keep enough gas for emergencies.
  • Note the location of telephones so you are familiar with them.
  • If you are followed by another car, drive to a police or fire station, hospital emergency entrance, or any open business or gas station. Do not go home or to a friend's house. If necessary, call attention to yourself. If your car breaks down far away from help, stay in your car with the doors locked and the drivers side window open 1/2 inch. Ask people who stop to call the local police, your automobile club, or a friend or family member. Do not ride with strangers.
  • Police officers and tow truck drivers carry identification. Do not unlock your car door or exit your vehicle until they show you their identification through the window.
  • Don't keep mail or other items with your name on it in the car.
  • When using a walk up ATM machine, drive around the building first to make sure no one is hiding nearby.
  • Be aware of bus stops. Car-jackings and smash and grabs often occur there.
  • If your car breaks down on campus or you lock your keys inside your car, call the Campus Police for motorist assistance.
  • Leave a distance between your car and the car in front of you. Use this space if you need an escape route.