Crime Prevention Tips
Crime Prevention Tips
Following the precautions outlined in this section can substantially decrease your chances of becoming a victim of crime.
- Be aware! Recognize your vulnerability.
- Report all suspicious persons, vehicles, and activities to the TWU Department of Public Safety immediately, by using any campus emergency pole phone or by dialing 2911 from any campus phone.
- Use the “buddy system” and watch out for your neighbor.
- Keep your doors locked whenever you find yourself alone in a building.
- Report lights that are out and any hazardous conditions immediately to the Facilities Management Office.
- If you see someone being victimized, get involved and notify the TWU Department of Public Safety.
- Remember the location of emergency phones in academic buildings. Also, phones have been placed in various locations on campus. Inside building phones are red in color. Outside phones are emergency pole phones.
- Avoid traveling alone at night.
- Confine walking to well-lit, regular traveled walks and pathways. Avoid shortcuts and keep away from shrubbery, bushes, alleyways, or any other areas where an assailant might be lurking.
- Avoid the athletic fields and tennis courts after dark.
- Do not accept rides from casual acquaintances.
- When walking to your vehicle or residence, have your keys ready in hand.
- When being dropped off by taxi or private vehicle, ask the driver to wait until you get inside.
- If threatened by an approaching vehicle, run in the opposite direction. The vehicle will have to turn around in order to pursue you.
- When getting out of a car, take a look around to make sure that you are not being followed.
- If you think you are being followed, cross the street and, if necessary, keep crossing back and forth. If you are pursued, call for help and run to a campus building, business, or residence, enlist the aid of a passerby, flag down a passing motorist, or as a last resort pull a fire alarm. Do anything that might attract attention or summon assistance. If you are walking alone and someone passes you, check to be sure that person has continued walking in the other direction.
- Call the TWU Department of Public Safety at 940-898-2911 for Escort Service if walking alone at night.
- If you find yourself confronted by an assailant you must remember that while screaming and struggling may in some instances frighten off the assailant, in other instances you may further antagonize the assailant and bring forth a more violent reaction. Above all you must keep your head and assess the situation before choosing your course of action. Whether or not the assailant is armed or has made threats against your life should be a determining factor in your decision. The key word in this type of situation is survival.
- Avoid using athletic facilities alone, especially after dark or during off-hours.
- Use the “buddy system”. Work out with a friend, and make arrangements to leave the gym together.
- Confine your running and jogging to the daylight hours and to open, well-traveled areas. If you run or jog at night you must wear a reflective vest.
- Avoid showering alone in the locker room.
- If, while waiting for an elevator, you find yourself alone with a stranger, let them take the elevator and wait for its return.
- If you are on an elevator with someone who makes you feel uneasy, get off at the next floor.
- Always stand near the control panel, where you have access to the alarm and floor buttons.
- Emergency phones are installed in all passenger elevators. When you push the button, the phone will automatically dial the Campus Police Department.
- Do not pick up hitchhikers.
- Whenever possible, limit traveling to well-lit, well-traveled roads.
- Keep your windows closed and doors locked.
- When stopped at traffic lights or stop signs, keep your vehicle in gear. If threatened, sound your horn and drive away if possible.
- Consider installing an alarm system with a panic switch.
- Avoid stopping in poorly lit, out-of-the-way places.
- If your vehicle breaks down, signal for assistance by raising the hood and by tying a white handkerchief to the radio antenna or door handle. Stay inside your vehicle with windows closed and the doors locked. If a roadside Samaritan stops, roll down your window just enough to talk and ask that he/she call the police. If the person appears to be a threat, sound the horn and flash your lights.
- If you think you are being followed, keep out of isolated areas. Look for a place where there are people, then stop and let the vehicle pass you.
- If the vehicle continues to follow, drive to the nearest location where you can get assistance, i.e., gas stations, shopping center, police or fire station, etc.
- If you are followed into your driveway or parking lot, stay locked inside your vehicle until you can identify the occupants of the vehicle. If threatened, sound your horn until you attract attention or the vehicle leaves.
- When parking at night, choose well-lit areas. Before getting out of your vehicle, check for people loitering.
- Always remove your ignition keys. Lock the vehicle whenever it is unattended.
- Before entering your vehicle, always check the interior, paying particular attention to the floor and rear seat.
- For escorts to and from your vehicle, use one of the emergency pole phones located on campus, or dial 940-898-2911.
The university has established a prescribed procedure to assist and support victims of rape or sexual assaults. The TWU Department of Public Safety will assist you in obtaining medical, counseling, and police services.
You are encouraged to report immediately any incidents of this nature via emergency pole phones or by dialing 940-898-2911 even if you do not wish to pursue the matter further. Keep in mind that an assailant who is allowed to go free is a potential future danger, not only to you but also to other members of the community.
All information that you give will be held in the strictest confidence in accordance with our own policy as well as by the General Laws of Texas. If you wish to report information concerning a rape or sexual assault anonymously, you may do so.
When you report a rape or sexual assault, you may choose to file charges through the District Attorney's office or not at all. If you choose to file charges, the TWU Department of Public Safety will assist you in every way, but no action will be taken without your expressed consent.
Every situation will be different. Therefore, we cannot provide any specific rules as to what to do or not to do if you are faced with a threat. Only you can make the determination as to the appropriate course of action.
If you think you are being followed, you can call out for assistance and run to a lighted building or residence; enlist the assistance of a passerby or flag down a passing vehicle, break a window in a building or residence or pull a fire alarm. Do anything that might attract attention or summon assistance.
If you find yourself confronted by an assailant you must remember that, while screaming and struggling may in some instances frighten off an assailant, in other instances such action may further antagonize an assailant and bring forth a more violent action.
There are many services available to victims of rape and sexual assault, and you are encouraged to use all support services.
Protect Your Property
More crimes of theft are committed on the TWU campus than any other crimes. Theft is a crime of opportunity and occurs primarily when property is left in unlocked or in unattended areas. In an attempt to alleviate this problem the TWU Department of Public Safety makes the following suggestions:
Residence halls and private residences
- Keep the door(s) to your room or residence and windows locked at all times.
- Report defective campus locks on windows and doors IMMEDIATELY to Facilities Management.
- Never sleep in an unlocked room or house.
- Do not put your name or address on key rings.
- Do not keep your room or residence and vehicle keys on the same ring.
- If you lose the keys to your residence, have the lock(s) changed. On campus residents should notify Housing immediately.
- Women living alone should not uses prefixes “Ms”, “Miss”, or “Mrs” on their doors or mailboxes. Instead, use the first initial and last name. This is also advisable for telephone directory listings.
- Do not study in poorly lit or secluded areas.
- Require callers to identify themselves before opening your door. Campus and non-campus residents should require official identification from all repair or service personnel.
- Do not let strangers in to use your telephone. Direct them to a public telephone.
- If you receive obscene or harassing telephone calls, or several calls with no one on the other end, immediately notify the TWU Department of Public Safety or the police department in your jurisdiction (private residence).
- If you find that your room has been entered, DO NOT GO INSIDE. Go to a neighbor and call the TWU DPS. If you are already inside, DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING. You may disturb evidence that is important to the police investigation
- If an intruder awakens you in your room, do not try to apprehend him. He may be armed or may easily arm himself with something inside the room. If he poses an immediate threat, get out of the room.
- If you see a suspicious person or vehicle on campus or in your neighborhood, IMMEDIATELY contact the TWU DPS or police department in your jurisdiction. Try to get the license plate number.
- Students in private residences should consider installing “peep holes” and intruder chains on outside doors. Also, if returning after dark, leave a light on at the entrance to your residence.
- Students living in campus housing are not allowed to block open doors to dormitories or other buildings or use fire exit doors in violation of fire code.
- Do not allow strangers to follow you into your residence hall.
- Be cautious when using bathroom facilities when there is no one else around, particularly at night.
Offices and Laboratories
- Keep all offices and laboratories locked when not in use.
- Make sure that all locking devices are in proper working order.
- Utilize a key control system. All department keys should be signed out and collected when not in use. Keys should be issued only when absolutely necessary.
- Do not label keys with their use. Use a code system instead.
- Keep desks, cabinets, etc., locked when not in use.
- Smaller items, such as calculators, laptops, iPads, etc., should be kept locked up when not in use.
- Avoid bringing valuable personal property with you.
- Petty cash should be kept to a minimum.
- Women should keep their purses locked up, and men should not hang up coats or jackets with wallets or other valuables in the pockets.
- Avoid bringing cash, wallets, watches, or other valuables to the athletic facilities.
- Avoid storing valuable sports equipment in your locker.
- Keep your locker locked whenever unattended. This includes those times when you leave briefly to shower, visit the trainer’s office or the equipment room, etc. Most of the thefts at the athletic facilities are from unlocked lockers.
- Report suspicious persons and incidents of theft to the TWU DPS immediately.
- Report all suspicious persons or vehicles around parking areas to the TWU DPS immediately.
- Keep your vehicle locked and the windows rolled up tightly.
- Never leave your vehicle running when unattended.
- When parking, choose a well-lit, heavily traveled area.
- Packages, luggage, and other valuables should be locked in the trunk.
- Keep spare keys in your wallet or purse, not inside the vehicle.
- Keep a record of your vehicle identification number (VIN), registration, and license plate number.
- Invest in a good U-Bar bicycle lock. Locks are available at most retail stores and bicycle shops.
- Always lock your bicycle. Bicycles should be locked around the frames to an object such as a bicycle rack. There are bicycle racks located all over campus.
- Whenever possible, keep your bicycle in your room. Fire code prohibits storage in all other areas.
- If you must leave your bicycle outside, choose a well-lit, heavily traveled location.
- Register your bicycle with the TWU DPS. Bike registration is free and is an excellent way to further secure your property against theft. Registration is required for bicycles on campus.
What You Can Do
Your involvement is essential to the prevention of crime on campus. Disinterest and complacency are the prime contributors to the success of crime. The burden of crime prevention rests not only with the TWU Department of Public Safety, but also with each member of the Texas Woman’s University community.
TWU DPS cannot be everywhere at once and are, therefore, dependent upon you to recognize and report incidents of suspicious and criminal activity. The extent of your cooperation will greatly influence TWU DPS’ effectiveness in combating crime. Doing your part means:
- Being aware of your vulnerability and following the suggestions outlined in this handbook to protect yourself and your property.
- Being alert for suspicious or criminal activity and conditions that may represent a hazard to the community.
- Getting involved by becoming more security conscious and by reporting all incidents of suspicious or criminal activity, no matter how insignificant, to TWU DPS immediately.
Remember that unreported crimes cannot be solved and that, by not reporting crimes, you allow the perpetrators to commit additional and perhaps more serious crimes. Many times crime solving depends upon how accurately and promptly the incident is reported.
It is important that you be able to provide as much of the following information as possible:
- The nature of the incident.
- When and where the incident occurred.
- Number of persons involved (names, sex, race, age, height, hair style/color complexion, distinctive characteristics, i.e. facial features, scars, physical defects, glasses, clothing, etc.).
- Direction and method of travel.
- Vehicles involved (color, type, make, model, license plate number and state, distinctive characteristics, i.e., decals, bumper stickers, damage, number of occupants, etc.).
- Description of stolen property (item, manufacturer, model number, serial number, value, color, dimensions, etc.).
- Any other applicable information.