Realizing that you could be a victim is the first step in self-protection. Use awareness and common sense to avoid potentially dangerous situations. Consider your alternatives if confronted by a rapist, car-jacker, or robber. Practice possible responses so that you can recall them under the stress of a real encounter. Follow the suggestions listed below to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
In the Parking Lots
- Report burned out parking lot lighting to Public Safety or Physical Plant.
- Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, find another place to park. If you feel apprehensive when leaving the building, return to the building and request an escort from the Department of Public Safety.
- Follow the posted speed limits - The College parking lots are a very busy place, full of vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. Slower speed limits help prevent accidents and enable drivers to be more aware of their surroundings.
- Park in well-lit, heavily populated areas.
- Avoid parking next to occupied vehicles.
- Look at the parking lot signs or landmarks, so you can easily find your car when you return.
- Have your car key in your hand before leaving the building.
- Look under your car while approaching and in the back seat before entering to make sure no one is hiding there.
- Lock your doors while in your car.
- Do not study, sleep or "hang out" in your vehicle before classes or between classes.
- Avoid or minimize walking between vehicles. Use the driving lanes or walkways to walk to and from the building.
- Walk with friends, co-workers or classmates when returning to your vehicle.
- Request an escort. The Public Safety Department provides officers to escort individuals to their vehicle.
- Report any suspicious activity or persons in the parking lots to the Department of Public Safety immediately.
- If you decide to carry a defensive spray such as Mace or Pepper Spray educate yourself on its uses and limitations.
- Keep doors locked at all times.
- If the car breaks down, raise the hood, put on the emergency lights, and lock the doors. Wait for someone to stop and offer help; stay in the car and ask them to call the police or a tow service.
- Avoid hitchhiking and hitchhikers due to the obvious high risks involved.
- Consider a cell phone. Many companies have emergency phone packages at inexpensive rates.
- If you are involved in a minor collision in an isolated area, you may want to drive to a well-lit populated area before stopping to assess the damage.
- If you feel that you are being followed, do not go home. Drive to the nearest police station, open store or service station for help. If you are fearful of exiting your vehicle, blow your horn to draw attention to yourself.
While on Campus
- Do not sleep on couches and chairs in isolated areas of the building.
- If working or studying on weekends or hours when few people are in the building, notify the Department of Public Safety of your location and the time you will spend in the building.
- Report suspicious persons or activities, to the Department of Public Safety.
- Be observant when using stairwells, storage areas, locker rooms, the jogging track or other potentially isolated areas on campus.
- Persons with an active order of protection against another individual should notify the Department of Public Safety for additional security precautions while on campus.
- Immediately report individuals who use threatening or intimidating language.
- Report individuals who appear to be under the influence of or are in the possession of alcohol or drugs.
- Report individuals who are in the possession of or appear to be carrying a weapon.
- Make sure home and grounds are lighted.
- Have key ready to open door.
- Leave a spare key with a friend rather than leaving it under the doormat or over the door.
- Lock windows and doors that are easily accessible. Pull shades or curtains after dark so as not to advertise that you are alone.
- Use deadbolt locks on all exterior doors.
- List only last name and initials on mailbox, door and in phone book.
- Do not give out personal information or make appointments with strangers over the phone.
- Do not admit strangers to your home. If an unexpected person approaches your door, determine identification before opening the door.
- If a stranger asks to use your phone, offer to make the call. Have the person wait outside.
- If you think someone is in your home: Don't go in, call the police from a nearby phone.
- Know your own sexual values, expectations, wishes and intentions and communicate them clearly and openly.
- Date in group situations until you get to know your date better and feel more comfortable with a one on one situation.
- Stay away from isolated places such as parks or deserted areas. Suggest meeting in public places where help will be nearby if you need it.
- Have your own transportation. Don't rely on your date for transportation (especially if you don't know your date well).
- Be observant of your date's attitudes toward you.
- Avoid using mood-altering chemicals such as drugs and alcohol. Studies have shown that being under the influence of alcohol contributes to the incidence of date rape.
- Be cautious when eating and drinking. Date rape drugs have been used to render victims helpless against an attack. If you feel unusually sleepy or intoxicated during a date, seek help immediately by calling 911 or asking someone, other than your date, for assistance in calling for help.
- Be assertive about your needs and rights. Reinforce your verbal "no" with physical resistance, unless you feel that this will further endanger you. Tell your assailant that he or she is committing assault, that you do not consent and therefore, he/she is breaking the law.