Staying Safe on Campus

Staying Safe on Campus

Dixie State University is a pretty safe place, but even here, crime does exist. No matter where you are, it pays to take precautions that can help you avoid becoming the victim of a crime. First, rate yourself on the following safety practices by writing “yes,” “no,” “sometimes,” “maybe,” etc. Then read more about how these things can help you stay safe at college (or anywhere).

Staying Safe on Campus Questionnaire

  1. Do you keep your residence door locked at all times, even when you are home?
  2. Do you check to see who is at the door to your residence before you open it?
  3. Do you lock your car, even when you are driving?
  4. Do you check your car to make sure no one is in it before you get in?
  5. Do you keep your hands free and your keys ready when going to your car at night?
  6. Do you ever leave your backpack, purse, or other possessions unattended?
  7. If you ride a bike, do you lock it up every time you park it?
  8. Do you avoid being alone in dark or deserted areas?
  9. Do you carry a charged cell phone at all times?
  10. Do you have the campus police numbers programmed in your phone?
  11. If you saw something you thought seemed suspicious, would you report it to the campus police or some other person in authority?
  12. Did you know if you are on campus late at night, you can call a on-duty officer to escort you to your car or home?
  13. Do you try to walk and act with confidence, rather than being looking down or unsure or upset?
  14. When you are walking around, are you attentive to your surroundings, avoiding daydreaming or getting distracted by earbuds, texting, or talking on the phone?
  15. If a professor or another student were to make a remark about you that you felt was inappropriate, would you stick up for yourself?
  16. Would friends describe you as having your own opinion about things, rather than easy to persuade or a push-over?
  17. Do you get to know someone before spending time alone with him or her, such as on a date?
  18. Would you say no if pressured to do something you didn’t want to do or didn’t think is right?
  19. If an acquaintance began asking inappropriately intimate questions, would you leave the conversation?
  20. If someone began touching you in an inappropriately intimate way, would you stop him or her firmly?
  21. When you go out, do you tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back?
  22. Do you think carefully about who you give your name and phone number to?
  23. If you felt uncomfortable with someone but didn’t know why, would you get out of the situation even if you didn’t have a logical reason for your feelings?
  24. Do you avoid drugs, alcohol, and people who use them?
  25. Have you ever had any kind of self-defense or personal protection training?

Safety Recommendations

Student standing alone on campus

Lock your residence door at all times, both when you are at home and when you are away.

Don’t make it easy for someone to walk in and steal your belongings. You don’t want someone to be able to walk in uninvited while you are home, either, especially if you are alone. Avoid leaving ground floor windows unlocked for the same reason. If someone knocks or rings your doorbell, always check to see who it is before opening it. If you don’t have a peep hole in your door, ask your landlord to install one.

Lock your car, both while it is parked and while you are driving.

It doesn’t take someone long to rifle through your glove box or remove items from your car or trunk if you leave your car open. Also, if the passenger door is unlocked, it is possible for someone to open the door and get in while you are stopped at a traffic light. Keep your hands free and your keys ready when approaching your car at night. Check to make sure no one is in it before you get in.

Don’t leave your possessions unattended.

Even if you are just leaving for a minute, don’t leave your purse or backpack on a table, in a hallway, or in the restroom where it could be stolen. It only takes a few seconds for a thief to pick up your belongings and walk away with them. Phones, tablets, lap tops, purses, wallets, and backpacks are easy targets. Bikes are also targets for anyone needing better transportation than their own feet.

Avoid being alone, especially in dark or deserted areas.

Don’t assume that just because this is a relatively safe area, no crimes ever happen. It is best to stay away from places where you could be attacked without being seen by anyone else.

Carry a charged cell phone.

If you ever have an emergency, you can summon help quickly. You can also take pictures of someone who is following you or who approaches you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. If you see someone or something suspicious or something happens that makes you feel uncomfortable, even if you’re not sure why, report it to the campus police or other campus authority. The more information the police have, the better they can get a big picture of something that’s not right. If you are on campus late at night, you can call one of the on-duty security officers to escort you to your car or home.

When you are walking around campus, look alert and be aware of your surroundings.

Avoid daydreaming or getting distracted to the point you don’t notice what’s going on around you. Also, avoid walking in isolated areas while wearing earbuds, talking on the phone, or texting. Try to walk and act with confidence, rather than looking down, unsure or upset. Perpetrators of crimes usually target people who look vulnerable or easy to surprise.

If a professor, other university employee, fellow student, or anyone else makes an inappropriate remark about you, stand up for yourself.

If you don’t, it sends a message that you don’t have good self-esteem and might be an easy target. Racial remarks, sexist remarks, or anything else that puts someone down are not appropriate. If you aren’t the target, but are in a situation, in which someone else is consider sticking up for a person. If the remark is particularly aggressive or the situation continues, notify security, a professor, or another university employee that you know and trust.

Don’t be afraid to assert your opinion.

If you are a push-over and people find it easy to get you to agree with their ideas or go along with their plans, it sends a message that you don’t think much of yourself and wouldn’t try very hard to defend yourself if attacked or pressured into something you don’t want to do. Practice thinking of yourself as a valuable, independent person, with confidence that you have something to contribute.

Get to know someone before spending time alone with him or her.

Date in groups or in public places until you get to know the person you are going to be with well enough to be comfortable alone with him or her. Be careful about going on a date in a car with someone you do not know — meet your date at the location rather than accepting a ride. In a group, don’t be the last one dropped off.

Have the self-respect to say “no.”

If you are pressured to do something that you don’t want to do or don’t feel is right, you can just say “no,” or if necessary “NO!” Don’t let someone talk you into going against your personal standards or beyond the level of intimacy that you want. Don’t let them put a guilt trip on you or wear you down by repeatedly pushing the limit. If this kind of behavior occurs, reconsider whether you want to spend time with this kind of person.

Watch out for potential date rapists.

People who commit date or acquaintance rape often seem like nice people. One way to recognize them is that they often ask inappropriately intimate questions or attempt inappropriate touching to test your boundaries. If you give in, they know you are a potential target. If you resist, they may escalate briefly to see if you’ll give in, but if you hold firm, they will move on.

When you leave home, let someone know where you are and when you are coming home.

Exchange schedules with your roommates so that you are aware of when to expect each other or tell your family when to expect you home.

Don’t give out personal information without thinking about it.

Everyone wants to make new friends, but it pays to be cautious. Don’t give out your name or phone number without getting to know the person you are giving them to.

If you are uncomfortable and feel nervous about your safety, even if you aren’t sure why, get out of the situation.

Your intuition will often warn you that something is wrong even before you are sure what the problem is. You may have a physical sensation like a tight throat or jittery hands, a thought like “something is wrong here” or “this guy is creeping me out,” or feel unusually tense, nervous, or hyper-aware. These are warnings to get out of the situation. Even if it is awkward, it is better to be safe than sorry. In many cases, people who end up as victims of crimes say that they knew something was wrong but didn’t take the initiative to get out of the situation.

Avoid drugs, alcohol, and people who use them.

Drugs and alcohol alter people’s ability to think rationally. If you use them or socialize with people who are using them, you are putting yourself at a higher risk for being the victim of a crime. If you swim with sharks, chances are you are going to get bitten.

Take a self-defense or personal training course.

There are many opportunities to learn these concepts and methods in the community. Take advantage of them.

Getting Help

If you are the victim of any crime or need to contact the campus security officers for any reason, use the numbers below.

Emergency: 911
Campus Security Office: 435-652-7515
On-duty Security Officers: 435-619-1144 or 435-619-1145

If you are the victim of a sexual assault, get help right away. Consider the following options:

  • Call 911. The sooner you report the assault, the better.
  • Call one of the sexual assault hotlines:
    Utah Rape and Sexual Assault Crisis Line
    1-888-421-1100
    National Sexual Assault Hotline
    1-800-656-4763 HOPE
  • Call a friend you know will believe you, be able to support you, and give you good advice.