These tips are from the pamphlet “Get In Stride and Stay Safe, Safety Tips for Runners and Walkers,” that is distributed by the National Crime Prevention Council, 1700 K Street, NW, Second Floor, Washington, DC 20006-3817.
Before You Leave
·Plan your outing. Always tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Tell friends and family of your favorite exercise routines.
·Know where telephones are located along the course.
·Wear an identification tag or carry a driver’s license. If you don’t have a place to carry your ID, write your name, phone number, and blood type on the inside of your athletic shoes. Include any medical information.
·Don’t wear jewelry or carry cash.
·Wear reflective material.
On the Road
·Tell a family member or friend where you are going and the time you expect to be back.
·Stay alert at all times. The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you are.
·Run or walk with a partner, a dog, or both.
·Don’t wear headsets. If you wear them you won’t hear an approaching car or attacker. Listen to your surroundings.
·Consider carrying a cellular telephone.
·Exercise in familiar areas. Know which businesses or stores are open.
·Vary your route.
·Avoid unpopulated areas, deserted streets, and overgrown trails. Especially avoid poorly lighted areas at night.
·Run clear of parked cars or bushes.
·Ignore verbal harassment. Use discretion in acknowledging strangers. Look directly at others and be observant, but keep your distance and keep moving.
·Run against traffic so you can observe approaching vehicles.
·Trust your intuitions about a person or an area. React based on that intuition and avoid areas you feel unsure about.
·Be careful if anyone in a car asks you for directions—if you answer, keep at least a full arm’s length from the car.
·If you think you are being followed, change direction and head for open stores, theaters, or a lighted house.
·Have your door key ready before you reach your home.
·Call police immediately if something happens to you or someone else, or you notice anyone out of the ordinary. It is also a good idea to check with police about any criminal activity in the area you plan to run.
Running and Walking in the Evening or Early Morning
·Make sure people can see you: Think about where you are going and how well lighted it may or may not be. Going out at dusk or at night is dangerous without some reflective device on your clothing. Many athletic shoes have reflective qualities built in, but also consider a vest complete with reflective tape.
·Watch the road: Wet or even patchy spots of ice may not be seen until it’s too late. The slick spots can lay in waiting and are considerably harder to see in the dark.
·Keep alert. Dawn and dusk offer convenient shadow for muggers and other crooks.
Away From Home
·Check with the hotel staff or concierge to find a safe route for exercise. If there is not an acceptable place to exercise outdoors, see if the hotel can arrange for you to go to a health club or gym.
·Become familiar with your exercise course before you start. Get a map and study it.
·Remember the street address of the hotel. Carry a card with your hotel address along with your personal ID.
·Leave your room key with the front desk.
Student Travel Tips
Before you head out, find out as much as you can about the area where you'll be. You can check it out by doing an internet search or contacting the local law enforcement agency.
Find out if there is someone on staff that could walk you to your room or to your car at night.
Make travel arraignment with a reputable company making sure to check the area where you will be staying.
Stay in a hotel that has good security such as key cards for the doors, deadbolts and/or security chains or bars and a peephole in the door. Get a travel alarm
to place under the door. It will keep someone from opening the door, even if they have a key and it will sound an alarm if they try.
Stick with trusted friends, because there really is safety in numbers.
Carry your camera and map in your purse when visiting other places. Walking with a map and camera exposed lets others know that you are a tourist.
The "Please Clean up Room" sign tells everyone passing by, "Hey I'm not here, come take my stuff." Call for housekeeping. Use the "Do Not Disturb" sign to fool intruders into thinking that your empty room is occupied.
Thieves hang out at airports ready to take luggage, purses, lap top computers and carry on bags. Don't let these things out of your sight. Often thieves work in pairs near the security x-ray machine. One will distract you or hold up the line after you've put your belongings on the x-ray conveyor belt, while his buddy is at the other end taking your stuff. Don't put your things on the conveyor until it is your turn to walk through.
If you stop at an airport restaurant, bar or café and set your bag down, put your foot through the strap. That way it won't be taken without you knowing. Also, you'll remember to take it with you when you trip over it as you leave.
Get a room on the 3rd through the 5th floor. This is high enough to discourage robbers from the outside, yet close enough to the ground if there is a hotel fire.
Don't have your name and address highly visible on your luggage, unless you really want to be stalked.
If you have to ask for directions, ask women with children or families. Ask them if they could tell you where is the ______? Tell them you're on your way to meet your husband, brother, dad, drill sergeant or boss to be safe.
Don't leave magazines with your address on the airplane. If you are done with the magazine either throw it away or tear off your address. It's not a good idea to let people know where you live and that you are away.
Bring your cell phone or rent one, and put the local emergency numbers on speed dial.
Pay attention to the people around you when you are out. You can check to see if someone is following you by looking at the reflections in store windows while you pretend to be window shopping.
Check out around your car as you walk up to it. If there is a van parked on one side of your car get in on the other side.
When carrying a purse or wallets, only place three or four one dollar bills placed inside. Credit cards, currency, driver's license, and keys should be carried in a coat picket or concealed, possibly in an inside zipped pocket. Other possible options include special security belts and stash pouches are available for this purpose.
While Out In Town
- Park in well-lit, heavily populated areas. Trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, find another place to park.
- Avoid parking next to occupied vehicles.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- If you have a cellular phone, have it easily accessible and turned on while driving.
- Take note of emergency/pay phones near where you have parked, in case you need to use them.
- Do not leave valuable items visible in your car.
- Always roll up all windows and lock all doors before leaving your vehicle.
- Walk with others to your vehicle whenever possible.
- If someone looks suspicious, leave the area immediately. Do not try to go to your vehicle. Call 911.
- Carry your keys in hand when you approach your vehicle.
- Look around and underneath your vehicle before approaching.
- Check the back seat of your vehicle before entering.
- Upon entering your vehicle immediately lock all doors.
- Make a copy of your registration and kept it on your person. Then remove all forms of identification from your vehicle. Anyone with permission to drive your vehicle should have a copy of your registration to furnish to the police if necessary.
- If you are involved in a minor collision in an isolated area, you may want to drive to a well lit and populated area before stopping to assess your damage.
- Never pick up hitchhikers or troubled motorists. If you want to help a troubled motorist, drive to the nearest phone and call the police.
- While driving, if you notice 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.
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Tips for Dealing with Crank Phone Calls
Most of these calls are the ring and hang up variety. A growing number are either obscene or threatening.
1. Hang up. As soon as you hear an obscenity, improper questions or no response to your sleepy "hello?"-Hang Up!!
2. Don't talk to strangers. Be careful when the caller says he/she is taking a survey. If you have any concern about the legitimacy of the survey, ask the person for his/her name, firm name and telephone number. Say that you will call back after you verify the authenticity of the survey.
3. Don't play detective. Don't extend the call trying to figure out who is calling. This or any type of reaction is exactly what the caller wants and needs.
4. Keep cool. Don't let the caller know you are upset or angry.
5. Don't panic when the phone rings. It may just be a wrong number. If it is a crank call, follow these suggestions.
6. Don't try to be clever. A witty response may well be interpreted as a sign of encouragement.
7. Don't try to be a counselor. The annoyance or obscene caller certainly needs professional help, but he/she will only be encouraged by our concern and will continue the late night calls.
8. Don't tell everyone about your calls. Many calls of this type are actually made by friends, family members, even your closest girl friend or boy friend.
9. Place ads with caution. When placing an ad in a newspaper, use a newspaper or post office box number if possible. If you must use your phone number, do not list your address. Crank callers are avid readers of the classified ads.
10. Never volunteer your number to an unknown caller. This is an invitation to call again. If your number is the wrong number, the caller does not need to know your number.
11. Report obscene or annoying calls to the campus. Keep a record of the calls. Immediately dial *57 after hanging up the call. This starts the process of tracing the calls.
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Be safe on the road and off.
- Always lock you car doors even when you will be gone only a few minutes.
- Lock your doors when driving.
- Park in well-lighted areas, and observe your surroundings when you leave your car.
- Always have you car and house keys in hand so you will not have to fumble for them.
- Always check the back seat before entering your car.
- Keep you car in good working condition.
- If you break down, use distress signals such as putting the hood up, putting a white flag on the aerial, or setting your emergency flashers. Remain in the car with the doors locked. Wait for the police or ask anyone who does stop to send a tow truck or the police. Be wary of accepting help from strangers.
- If you are followed by another car, honk your horn all the way to the nearest gas station, police station, fire station, or lighted home.
- If someone threatens you while you are in your car, lock all doors and blow the horn in short burst to attract attention.
- Do not pick up hitchhikers.
- Always lock valuables out of sight, preferably in the trunk. Always carry wallets, checkbooks and purses with you.
Changing light conditions can greatly affect driving.
- Adjust speed for: overcast skies, fog smog and smoke.
- When the vehicle behind you has high beams on, adjust you rearview mirror to night setting.
- Slow down if you want the vehicle to pass you during extreme sunshine or snow glare, especially at sunrise and sunset.
Time of day:
- Avoid driving at dusk- the most difficult time to see.
- Sunday mornings between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m. is the most dangerous time to drive because of impaired drivers.
- The fatal collision rate is several times higher at night than during the day.
- Don’t drive when you are extremely tired, and don’t rely on coffee to keep you awake.
- Not only does precipitation make road surface slippery, but it can obscure lane markings, traffic signals and road signs. In wet weather, slow down and use your low beams. While it is not a law, if there is a need to turn your wipers on, there is an equal need to turn you lights on.
- If driving visibility becomes poor, pull off the road and wait for conditions to improve. Don’t travel at 5 to 10 mph for risk of chain reaction crashes.
- Make sure your vehicle is equipped with snow tires or all-weather tires in the winter. If you are caught in a snow storm, be aware of over-exposure and over-exertion in trying to free your stuck vehicle. Stay inside until help arrives.
- Be sure your windshield and windows are thoroughly clear of view-obstructing snow and ice. Use your defogger to increase visibility when you drive.
- Remember a bridge or overpass gets slick and icy even before the roads do since bridge temperatures are five to six degrees colder than the roadway. Be especially cautious when temperatures drop to freezing or just below. Keeping yourself safe makes sense. Use these tips wisely so you can keep yourself and others out of harm’s path. Enjoy college safely.
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TIPS TO AVOID BEING THE VICTIM OF A STREET CRIME
Understand what criminals look for in their potential victims:
1) Lack of awareness.
Be Aware - Know where you are, where you're going and what is going on around you. This includes people, events and potential exit routes.
2) Bad neighborhood at a bad time.
Get Information - If you don't know about the safety of a neighborhood, ASK someone you trust before you go there. Reconsider walking or driving alone while in a potentially bad neighborhood especially at night.
3) Non-Aggressive body language.
Act Confident - Stand or walk confidently by keeping your head up standing straight and a purposeful stride. Always scan your immediate surroundings. In addition, take command of your space, by keeping your distance when walking past strangers on the street or in dark areas.
4) Spending time idling in one location.
Be a Moving Target - Don't give them time to plan an attack. When going somewhere, keep moving. If you are in your car, think twice before sitting there with the car doors unlocked while you do stuff like checking a map, list or magazine or fixing your makeup. Too many women have been attacked in this situation. If you are in a parking lot that is potentially unsafe, get in your car, lock the doors and leave.
5) Easy access to valuables.
Hide Valuables - When walking in a bad neighborhood or at night, don't wear valuable jewelry. Also, keep your purse inside your coat or tucked close to your body. Do not carry a loose bag or backpack, unless you have eyes in the back of your head to keep watch on it.
6) Loose clothing or hair.
Prevent Handholds - Think about places where an attacker can grab and pull at you. Put your long hair up in a hat or tuck it inside your clothing. Remove loose scarves, belts and backpacks or place them inside your coat.
7) No threat of physical deterrent.
Be Intimidating - If a criminal doesn't view you as difficult or a physical threat, you could be a potential victim. This can be quickly changed if you decide to carry something large and blunt such as a large golf umbrella.
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Walking can be great fun, but it can also be potentially dangerous. Here are a few tips to help keep you safe while you enjoy walking both on and off campus.
- Park in well lit areas.
- Avoid parking close to large vehicles, as it will decrease your ability to see the area around you.
- Keep your doors locked when you are in your vehicle and when you leave your vehicle.
- Pay attention to people and cars around you and be aware of any suspicious situations and people.
- Display proper body language that shows that you are aware of things that are happening around you.
- Always hide your valuables.
- Do not leave personal information displayed.
- Have your keys in your hand and be ready to enter the vehicle.
- Don’t take chances with your safety when you’re walking
- Don’t walk alone (especially at night).
- Use public walkways.
- Avoid hitchhiking.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Walk facing traffic. Walk confidently. Be alert. Notice who passes you and who is behind you.
- Walk in well-lighted areas. Do not walk near bushes, alleys, etc.
- Wear clothing and shoes that give you freedom of movement and reflects light.
- Do not overburden yourself with bags or packages that might make running difficult.
- Carry as little cash as possible.
- Hold you purse tightly, close to your body. Keep your wallet in a front pocket, button hip pocket or inside coat pocket.
- If someone in a car stops you for directions or information, always reply from a safe distance. Never get too close to the car.
- If an auto driver persists in bothering you, cross the street and walk or run in the opposite direction.
- If you feel someone is following you, turn around and check. Proceed to the nearest lighted house or place of business.
- If you feel you are in danger, do not be afraid to yell and run.