University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
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Campus Safety Tips

Safety Tips Around Campus

  • Program your phone's speed dial to include Campus Police - 814-269-7222. Don't hesitate to use it. Better safe than sorry!
  • If your intuition tells you that you are at risk, leave the situation quickly.
  • Avoid isolated places.
  • Be constantly mindful of who is around you.
  • If you feel you are in danger, attract attention anyway you can.
  • Scream and run if that would be necessary.
  • At night, stay in well lit areas and use routes that are more heavily traveled.
  • Walk confidently and assertively. A potential attacker looks for someone who appears vulnerable.
  • Never work alone in an office or classroom on campus at night.
  • Use the Campus Police escort service if you need accompanied back to your room at night.
  • Report suspicious persons to Campus Police.
  • Walk in groups to class and to and from parking lots.
  • Avoid walking or jogging alone, especially at night.
  • Do not wear headphones while walking or jogging.
  • Know the route to your destination.
  • Walk in the center of the sidewalk - - away from buildings, doorways, hedges, and parked cars.
  • Carry a noise-making device and have it ready to use (shrill whistles, hand-held alarms).
  • Wear clothes and shoes that will allow you to move quickly.
  • Don't feel foolish about practicing avoidance. It is perfectly OK to turn around and find another way to get where you want to go. Real violence happens much more quickly than movie violence.
  • If all of the avoidance tactics fail and you find yourself with a knife to your throat and a demand for cash or car keys, give the perpetrator what he wants... its not worth dying for.

Safety on the Road

  • Program your phone's speed dial to include Campus Police - 814-269-7222.
  • While driving, if struck from behind or in any suspicious way, stay in your vehicle with the doors locked and your windows closed until the police arrive. Call 911 immediately.
  • "Bump and rob" scams: Criminals rear-end a car, then wait for it to pull over so they can rob the occupants. Drive to the nearest police station to report an accident and tell the police that you left the scene because you felt threatened.
  • When approaching your vehicle, always have your keys ready.
  • Look around your vehicle for any suspicious activity. If you see someone loitering around your vehicle, walk past until they leave.
  • When approaching your parked car, and when still at a distance from it, look to make sure no one is hiding beneath your car.
  • Check the back seat of your vehicle for intruders.
  • Keep doors locked and windows shut.
  • Don't stop to assist a disabled motorist. Instead, contact a service station or police.
  • When stopped at a light, leave enough room between you and the car in front so you could make an escape.
  • Be suspicious of anyone approaching the car with fliers, asking for change or directions. Be ready to leave carefully, even if it means running a red light or stop sign.
  • Park in well-lighted, designated parking areas.
  • Keep all valuables out of sight in your trunk.
  • Carry a cell phone or have change in your car for emergency phone calls.
  • If you think you are being followed, change direction and drive immediately to an area with lots of people. Call police while driving to the nearest law enforcement office.
  • If you are followed as you turn into your driveway at night, stay in your car with the doors locked until you identify the occupants of the other car. Sound your horn to get help.
  • If your car breaks down, raise the hood; then stay inside with doors locked. If someone stops to help, do not open your window or door or accept a ride. Ask them to call for help.
  • Keep an aerosol tire inflator in your car for emergencies.

Safety in the Dorm

  • Program you phone's speed dial to include Campus Police - 814-269-7222.
  • Do not prop open exterior doors or allow strangers into the dorm. Remember, you may be putting yourself and others at risk.
  • Keep doors and windows locked whenever your leave. Take your keys with you even if you leave for a short while.
  • Know who's at the door before you open it.
  • Take care of your keys! Don't give anyone the chance to duplicate them. Don't leave a key over the door or nearby your room.
  • Don't leave valuables, like your purse, wallet, checkbook or jewelry in open view.
  • Close your blinds and curtains after dark.
  • Never sleep in an unlocked room or townhouse.
  • Do not leave notes on your door or answering machine announcing that no one is home.

How to Deal with Annoyance Telephone Calls

Threatening Calls:

Anyone threatening to cause injury or death to a person or damage to their property is committing the most serious offense of this nature. These types of calls should always be reported immediately to Campus Police.

Obscene Calls:

The victim of this crime is usually a female and is selected randomly until the culprit receives the reaction that he has been looking for. The culprit uses his unknown identity to fantasize about his desires. These calls should also be reported immediately to Campus Police.

Harassing or Annoying Calls

There is no need to be victimized by these kinds of calls. Report them to Campus Police.

What to do when a call is received:

  • Most often the caller is looking for a reaction to the call. Do not react to it.
  • Ask who is calling and the number the person is trying to reach. Do not give out your number or name or any personal information to the caller.
  • Hang up the receiver promptly and gently if the caller does not respond properly to your question. Contact Campus Police.
  • Don't try to be a counselor. The annoyance or obscene caller certainly needs professional help, but he/she will only be encouraged by your concern and will continue the late night calls.
  • If you blow a whistle or yell into the phone, the caller will know that you are angry and will likely be encouraged to call back.

Using the ATM Machine:

  • Program your phone's speed dial to include the police.
  • Have your cell phone ready to call the police if you see anything suspicious
  • Have your card ready, but not in plain view.
  • Stand directly in front of the machine so that no one can see you enter your PIN.
  • Cancel your transaction if anything seems suspicious. You can return later.
  • Even while using the ATM, stay alert to your surroundings. Look up and around every few seconds while transacting your business.
  • When your transaction is complete, be sure you have your card and your receipt, then leave immediately. Avoid counting or otherwise displaying cash.
  • As you leave, keep a lookout. Be alert for anything or anyone who appears suspicious. If you think you are being followed, go to an area with a lot of people and call the police.
  • If you lose your ATM card, report it to your financial institution.

Commuting Safely

  • Have your cell phone ready to call the police if you see anything suspicious.
  • Before leaving for school or work, plan your route. Select the safest route available, ones that are well-lit and well-traveled are the better choices.
  • Always have a backup plan. Plan a secondary route to travel in case there is a major accident or tie-up on your usual route.
  • Carpool if possible.
  • Always keep your vehicle well maintained.
  • Purchase a decent spare tire (preferably full-size). Make sure it is inflated properly and that it fits on your car.
  • Have a functional jack and a vehicle safety kit with you. Flares, small cones and other brightly colored devices are helpful in creating a safety zone in which you work.
  • Carry a good, sturdy ice scraper in your car.
  • Make sure to have a shovel in your trunk, during the winter months, in case you need to dig your car out of a snow bank. (A coal shovel is short enough for easy storage and practical for digging out around tires).
  • Store dry, waterproof boots along with an extra pair of warm gloves, scarf, hat, and jacket. If you have to dig out of a snowbank or wait for help, having the proper clothing can help prevent injuries, accidents, or illness in frigid weather.
  • If you are stranded, do not leave your car. You are safer waiting for help than you are going to look for it. Police do not recommend going for help unless you can see it. If you must go, stay on the road where it is more populated.
  • Get yourself a "call police" sign to hang in your window if you are stranded.
  • If someone stops to ask you if you need help, ask them to go and call the police for you. Do not get into their vehicle with them!!!
  • If you are stopped in traffic, keep an eye out for people approaching your car.
  • Always drive with your doors locked.
  • Always get gas earlier in the day, preferably in the morning. Rush hour traffic makes for great visibility.
  • Always stop at the best lighted, best attended gas station for fuel, coffee or snacks. Fill your tank in view of the attendant on duty.
  • Avoid road rage. Using verbal retaliation or a gesture on a foolish driver could end in a deadly tragedy. Drive calmly.

Prevalence of College Sexual Assault/Rape

  • Female college freshmen are the highest risk for sexual assault between the first day of school and Thanksgiving break.
  • In a 1-year time period, 3% of college women are victims of completed or attempted rape.
  • 1 out of 10 college women have been raped in their lifetime.
  • For women who have been raped in college, 9 out of 10 offenders were known to the victim.
  • Sexual assaults in college are more likely to occur at night and in someone's residence (either the victim's or the offender's).
  • 90% of campus rapes involve alcohol use by the assailant or the victim.
  • Although women are more likely to be sexually assaulted, 10% of all sexual assaults and rapes happen to men. Click here for more information on victims of sexual assault.

Last Reviewed: January 4, 2005