Crime Prevention Tips
CRIME PREVENTION TIPS
Protecting Yourself and Your Belongings
While colleges and universities are among the safest communities, no campus is immune from crime. An important part of everyone's education is learning how to be alert, use common sense, and prevent unnecessary threats to the safety of themselves and others.
Campus crimes can generally be broken down into two categories: crimes against property and crimes against persons. Most campus crimes occur when criminals are given the opportunity to commit them. By taking away the opportunity, you can help prevent the crime before it occurs.
Crimes Against Property
Protect Your Bicycle
Bicycles are popular forms of transportation on campus, which makes them a popular target of thieves. Help protect your bicycle by taking these simple steps.
- Lock your bicycle—always—even if you are going somewhere for only a minute or two. If possible, lock your bicycle inside a building or a well-lighted area. Always secure your lock through the frame as well as both wheels to a bicycle rack or sturdy post. U-Locks are the most recommended.
- Register your bicycle with the St. Edwards University Police Department, and have it etched with your Driver’s License number. If your bicycle is registered, then stolen and recovered, the police will know you are the owner and can return it to you.
Protect Your Residence and Valuables
If you live in a dorm room or other on-campus housing, here are simple tips for protecting your residence and belongings. If you have roommates, make sure they understand and follow these same tips:
- Lock the door to your room whenever you leave, even if it is just for a few minutes. The majority of thefts from dorm rooms and apartments happen when the residents are not in, and the door is unlocked. Also, lock your door when you are showering or sleeping. If you live on the ground floor, lock your windows. If you discover that your door or window does not lock, leave a maintenance request to have it repaired and contact your resident assistant. If you live in a unit with a sliding glass door, secure it further by placing a length of wood (a dowel or broom handle) in the track on the floor to stop it from opening.
- Don't leave exterior doors or inner lobby doors propped open when they should be closed. If you find one open, close it. And never allow individuals you do not recognize and who do not have a key or pass-card to enter a building. This includes pizza delivery drivers and other service personnel in uniforms.
- Record the serial numbers of valuable objects you have in your room. Engrave such objects with your driver's license number. The police department at St. Edwards will assist you with engraving.
- Do not leave cash, credit cards, or checks in unlocked desks or cabinets.
- If you have a laptop computer, lock it in a desk or cabinet when you are out of your room—and keep it in your immediate possession at all other times. The same is true for a cell phone.
- If you have voice mail or an answering machine, don't leave a message that indicates you are away from your residence. Simply state that you are unavailable.
- Do not allow people you do not know well to stay overnight in your room.
Protect Your Vehicle
Vehicles in parking lots always present an attractive target for thieves. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the chance that your car will be broken into or stolen:
- Lock your car whenever it is unattended—both on—and off-campus.
- Do not leave expensive property, such as laptops, CD cases, money, purses, cell phones, and portable stereos in plain view in your car. Lock them in your trunk or take them with you. Cover up conspicuous stereo equipment.
- If you have expensive stereo equipment in your car, consider investing in a car alarm. If you have a car alarm, turn it on whenever you leave your car unattended.
- Record the brand, model numbers, and serial numbers of all electronic equipment installed in your car. In the event of theft, give this information to the police. If the equipment is recovered, it can then be returned to you. Also engrave your driver's license number on this equipment. Your campus police offers free engraving.
- Engrave your Vehicle Identification Number (found on your registration or under the windshield on the driver's side) on the doors, windows, fenders, and trunk lids of your car. This helps prevent theft, because the thief will need to replace these parts before selling the car.
- If you live off-campus, try to park your car off the street, in a garage or other secure area. If this is not possible, always park in a well-lighted area.
Crimes Against Persons
While crimes against property are far more common on college and university campuses, some campus criminals target people as well. Not every crime against a person can be prevented, and victims should never blame themselves for a criminal's behavior. Still, you can help reduce your risk of being victimized by following some common-sense tips like the ones listed here:
In Your Residence
- Keep your doors locked, even when you are in the residence. Do not allow anyone in until you know who that person is. If the person claims to be dorm maintenance or a utility worker, verify that by asking for identification. People who have legitimate reasons to be there should not hesitate to provide IDs.
- If you have voice mail or an answering machine, do not put your name on your recording. Also, if you and your roommates are female, consider having a male friend record your greeting.
- If you are receiving threatening or obscene phone calls, contact campus police if you live on-campus, or Austin Police if you live off-campus.
- If you notice a person attempting to gain entry to your residence or attempting to look into your residence, call campus police if you live on-campus or the Austin Police at 9-1-1 if you live off-campus. Be prepared to give a description of the person, and tell where you last saw the person and the direction he or she was headed in at the time.
In Your Car
- Park in well-lighted, busy areas. Avoid dark, secluded areas.
- Always lock your car, even if you are in it at the time.
- As you approach your car, be aware of other people around. If you see someone loitering near your car, do not go to it; instead, walk to an area where there are other people.
- Have your car keys ready. Make sure you don't have to stand by your car fumbling for your keys.
- Before you enter your car, look inside to make sure there is no intruder in the car.
- If you see another motorist stranded on the road, do not stop to help. Drive to the nearest phone—or use your cell phone—and notify the police.
- While driving, keep valuables out of sight, and not on the seat next to you. When you are stopped in traffic or at a stop light, some "smash-and-grab" thieves will break out the passenger window and snatch valuables from your car seat.
- If you don't already have one, consider getting a cell phone so you can call for assistance in an emergency.
- If you are stranded in your car, do not accept help from anyone. If someone offers help, stay in your car and ask him or her to call police. Do not accept help from the police unless they are in uniform and driving a marked patrol car.
- If you are approached by a carjacker demanding your car, give it up. Your life and health are worth more than any vehicle.
When You Are Out
- Don't carry a lot of cash. Women should carry money somewhere other than their purses. Men should carry their wallets in an inside coat pocket or a front pants pocket.
- Don't be flashy. Expensive clothes and jewelry can make you a target for thieves—on- or off-campus.
- Avoid shortcuts through dark, secluded areas. Stay where other people are around.
- Do not walk alone. If you jog or walk for exercise, do it with others.
- Walk with confidence. Keep aware of surroundings. Thieves are more likely to single out those who appear hesitant or unsure of themselves.
- When walking to your residence or car, always have your keys ready so you will spend as little time as possible in the open.
- When studying late on campus, work with a partner. Call UPD to be escorted to your residence hall, SEU apartment or vehicle.
- If you are being harassed, loudly say, "Leave me alone!" If that doesn't stop the harassment, continue to attract people's attention by screaming or other loud noises and head toward any type of facility where other people are around. Make noise and RUN away.
- If you are confronted, give up your valuables—especially if the attacker has a weapon. Nothing is as important as your life.
- Try to stay out of arm's reach of the attacker. Don't let the attacker move you into an alley or car. Your best defense if the attacker persists is to scream and run.
- Consider purchasing a personal alarm for defensive purposes.
- Look into self-defense classes. St. Edwards Police Department offers a Rape/Assault Defense Class (RAD).
If You Are The Victim of a Crime
Contact St. Edward’s University Police Department
512-448-8444 or ext. 8444 (emergency)
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