In order to assist the University community in their crime prevention efforts the University Police Department provides the following tips to help you reduce your chances of becoming the victim of a crime.
WHILE AT HOME OR IN YOUR RESIDENCE HALL:
- Make sure that sturdy, working locks are installed on all doors and windows. Lock your door(s) any time you leave your room, including just going down the hall to the rest room.
- Leave lights on when you're out and have your keys ready when you return.
- Get acquainted with your neighbors. Check into starting a neighborhood crime prevention program. Let friends know where you are if you'll be out alone.
- Avoid isolated places, such as elevators, laundry rooms, and garages, if you feel uncomfortable being alone or if someone else being in the area makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Install a peephole and use it!! Don't let strangers in. Ask for identification from police, delivery people, etc.
- Vary your daily routine, if possible, so it's not predictable.
- Don't enter your home or room if it looks like it has been broken into. Call the police from the nearest phone.
- If you receive an obscene or threatening telephone call, gently hang up the telephone without saying anything. Don't talk to or encourage the offender.
- Don't give out any credit card number unless you initiate the transaction. Be careful when it comes to companies or organizations that call you, ask you to order something, and then ask you to pay for it with a credit card.
- Engrave your valuables using a Driver's License or Social Security Number.
- Don't leave jewelry and money laying around your room and don't show them to your neighbors.
- If at all possible never walk.
- If you cannot find someone to walk with you, contact the University Police at 246-4545 for an escort. This service operates Sunday through Thursday from 6:00 p.m. until midnight.
- If you absolutely have to walk alone, walk on well lighted walkways and plan your route ahead of time. Avoid places where attackers might hide (spaces between parked cars, overgrown shrubs, dark passageways) and areas where you might get cornered. Remember, it is best to walk facing traffic.
- If anyone follows you, look confident and let them know you are aware of their presence. Don't be polite or engage in conversation.
- If they continue to follow you, cross the street and/or change directions.
- If this doesn't work, walk toward other people or occupied buildings and stay away from places where you might get cornered.
- If someone in a car follows you and is persistent or becomes obscene, write down the license number and report it to the University Police as soon as possible.
- Ask for assistance from the University Police Department if you are frightened or concerned.
- If someone follows you and is persistent or becomes obscene, write down the license number and report it to the appropriate police agency as soon as possible.
- Always try to park in the best-lit parking lots.
- If you are trapped in your car, honk your horn in quick short bursts. This will attract people's attention.
- Make sure that all of the car doors are locked whenever you leave your vehicle.
- When returning to your car, have your keys ready so you can enter your car quickly and be aware of your surroundings. If you have to look into a purse or a pocket to find them, it takes extra time and you lose sight of what is around you, which could allow someone to sneak up on you.
- As you approach your car, look underneath to make sure no one is hiding there. Before you enter your car look to see if all of the doors are locked or if there are any uninvited passengers in the back seat or on the floor. If your door locks are not the way you left them or you see someone inside, leave the area as quickly as possible and notify the University Police.
- Don't pick up hitch-hikers.
IN DATING SITUATIONS:
- Learn about a man's attitudes toward women before you go out or as you talk.
- Express yourself clearly. Don't worry about "insulting" him; your safety is more important. Make your limits clear before you get into a potentially compromising situation.
- Avoid secluded places such as parks or deserted beaches. Suggest meeting in public places where help will be nearby if you need it.
- Arrange your own transportation, especially if you don't know him well. Drive, use public transportation, or go out with a group or another couple.
- Be careful with alcohol and drugs. They can cloud judgment and slow responses. Be aware of your date's use of alcohol or other drugs.
Protecting Your Property
PREVENTING THEFTS FROM PERSONS:
- When shopping, never leave packages and bags alone.
- Do not become overloaded with packages and parcels. A shopping bag is more convenient and keeps one hand free.
- Packages should be stored in the trunk of the car, not in the front or back seat where they can be seen by thieves.
- Always carry a purse or bag close to the body with the arm over the flap. If the bag has no flap, avoid using it as a place to put a wallet, money, or credit cards.
- When walking in the company of others, purses and bags should be carried on the inside arm; that is, towards the other person(s).
- Carry only the cash and credit cards necessary.
- Never flaunt money and other valuables in public.
- Keep money and charge cards in separate places.
- Wallets are safer from the pick-pocket when placed in the front pocket.
- Placing a comb in the folds of a wallet makes its removal more difficult for the pick-pocket.
- Passports and other valuable papers are best stored in a safety deposit box at the hotel/motel. A shoulder strap with a pocket is the most effective way to secure documents such as passports. Money belts are also effective.
- If a purse or bag is grabbed, be careful not to get involved in a wrestling match. The purse-snatcher may have a weapon.
- The police should be contacted immediately of a personal crime or theft occurs. Before traveling to foreign countries, practice a few basic phrases, such as "help", "police" and "does anyone speak English?"
PREVENTING THEFTS FROM HOMES/ROOMS:
- Drapes and shades should be left in a normal position during the day.
- Interior lights should be left on at night -- bedrooms and hallways are logical places. Automatic timing devices should be used in your absence.
- A radio should be left on during some of the night time hours, so that the room/home sounds occupied if you are away.
- Garage doors should never be left open, particularly with no car in sight. This is like a neon welcome sign to the burglar.
- Participate in neighborhood watch programs if available. Check with your local police department.
- Good locks should be installed and, most important, they should be used whenever you are gone...even for short absences and when you are sleeping.
- New locks should be installed after moving to a new residence or when keys have been lost or stolen.
- House keys should not be carried with car keys or connected with any form of identification.
- Notes that inform a burglar that the house/room is unoccupied should never be left.
- Door keys should not be left under flower pots or doormats, inside an unlocked mailbox, over the doorway, or in other obvious places.
- All doors should be locked when no one is in the main part of the house (such as when working in the attic, basement or backyard).
- When called by a stranger, do not give out information about who is at home, who is out, and how long they will be gone.
- Do not display names on mailboxes or plaques in the front yard.
- Doors should not be opened to anyone who does not have business on the inside. Repairmen and others who claim to have business on the inside should show positive identification. Any doubts regarding identification should prompt a call to the individual's company or superiors to be verified. Be sure to look the number up yourself in the phone book.
- Persons requesting to use the phone should not be allowed inside under any circumstances. Even a small child could be an accomplice to a burglar.
- Outdoor articles such as lawn equipment and bicycles should not be left in areas easily accessible to the general public.
PREVENTING THEFTS WHILE TRAVELING:
- Arrange for someone to pick up your mail and newspaper; don't stop delivery. Mail that is delivered and picked up and newspapers that are delivered and picked up make it appear that you are home.
- Don't publicize your vacation plans.
- Don't have your phone disconnected. It's better for a burglar to think you are out for a short period of time than to think you are away for a long period of time.
- Turn down the ringer volume on your phone. A burglar outside cannot hear an unanswered phone.
- Leave a key with a trusted neighbor so they can check the house periodically.
- Don't put a message on your answering machine which says you will be gone for a long time.
PREVENTING VEHICLE THEFT:
- Install a vehicle alarm or mechanical lock for the steering wheel or ignition.
- Always lock the doors and leave the windows rolled up.
- Always activate any auto alarms or anti-theft devices.
- Keep packages, tape players, and citizens band radios out of sight. Expensive items in full view invite theft even if the vehicle is locked. Don't advertise the types of stereo equipment you have in your vehicle.
- Avoid transferring valuable items to the trunk at the location where the vehicle is to be parked.
- Use a garage if possible and lock both the vehicle and the garage.
- Know the license number, year, make and model of your vehicle.
- Do not leave money, checkbooks, or credit cards in the vehicle at any time.
- Leave only the ignition key with the attendant at a commercial garage or with the employee of a gas station or service shop.
- Put some form of personal identification on the vehicle in hard-to-see spots and/or have the V.I.N. etched into the windows.
PREVENTING BICYCLE THEFT:
- Keep bicycles locked any time they are unattended with a good "U" type lock. Second choice would be a good case-hardened padlock and cable. Be sure the "U" lock or cable go through the front wheel, rear wheel and the frame, and secure it to a fixed object.
- Check the lock by pulling on it to make sure it is secure.
- Use an engraver to place an identifying mark on unpainted major bicycle components.
- During the day at home, keep the bicycle out of sight or at least at the rear of the house.
- At night and when not at home, keep the bicycle inside a locked structure.
- Be sure to retain all evidence of purchase, including the serial number.
- Be able to identify the bicycle...not only by its color, but by its features.
- Have one or more close up color photographs of the bicycle and its owner on hand.
- Register the bicycle in a community registration program, if available.
- Never loan your bicycle or other property to strangers.
- Try to avoid parking a bicycle in high crime, deserted, or poorly lit areas.
PROTECTING INDIVIDUAL PIECES OF PROPERTY:
- Larger pieces of property such as electronics and cameras can be engraved with an ID number, usually your drivers license number or you Social Security Number. You can borrow engravers from the University Police Department free of charge, or we can assist you.
- Smaller pieces of property such as jewelry, or pieces of property without serial numbers, should be photographed. Mark them if possible.
- Conduct an inventory and record the make, model, and serial number of all property. Include the date of purchase and purchase price. Keep this list in a safe place, and send a copy to your parents or a friend. Be sure to keep the list up to date.
Thanks to the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville Police Department for the use of this crime prevention material.