Safety Tips For Students While at College

From the moment you walk on campus to graduation day, you should always be smart and be safe with yourself and with your possessions. These are some safety tips that you should follow while on campus or anywhere you will be.

Student Fundamentals

  • Study the campus and neighborhood with respect to routes between your residence and class/activities schedule. Know where emergency phones are located. Familiarize yourself with the location of emergency telephones, both indoor and outdoor. These boxes all have a blue button near the bottom of the faceplate that will auto dial to University Police. University Police Dispatch will answer; allowing you to communicate with them, or you can press the button and continue on, if you feel that it's best to do so. Dispatch can tell where the call came from and dispatch an Officer to the scene.
  • Share your class/activities schedule with parents and a network of close friends, effectively creating a type of "buddy" system. Give network telephone numbers to your parents, advisors, and friends.
  • Survey the campus, academic buildings, residence halls, and other facilities while classes are in session and after dark to see that buildings, walkways, quadrangles, and parking lots are adequately secured, lit and patrolled.
  • Stick to well-lighted and busy areas. Stay on the part of the sidewalk that is farthest away from shrubs, dark doorways and alleys where people can hide.
  • Although University Police patrol the campus 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, we cannot be at every place at every time. Therefore, when traveling about the campus, travel in groups of two or more and always travel in well lit, heavily traveled areas. Use our escort service after dark. Never walk alone at night. Avoid "shortcuts".
  • Follow what your instincts tell you. If you're walking on campus and just have a strange feeling that something's wrong, then something may be wrong. Change directions to a well traveled, well lit area and head toward a campus emergency phone, to University Police, or to your residence hall.
  • Use the buddy system. If you're out walking on campus or heading to a local bar, take a friend with you and don't leave his or her side. Watch out for each other and make sure that the other makes it safely back to their room. While you're at the bar, if someone harasses you, tell your bartender or server.
  • If ever confronted by a "flasher," there are certain steps that University Police urge you to follow. First, if you feel that you are in danger, get away--leave the area. Immediately contact University Police at Extension 3434. University Police will ask you several questions, and it is important to relay the information to the best of your ability. University Police will ask for a description of the subject: was s/he wearing anything, how tall was the subject, what hair color did the subject have, etc. Also, University Police will ask for the location that this occurred, did the subject leave the area, and, if so, which way did the subject go. Were there any cars in the area or did the subject leave in a car. Any information you can provide is valuable information and University Police strongly encourages you to call as soon as possible after the incident.
  • Know your neighborhood and campus; find out which buildings are open late (or early) and where you go to summon help if needed.
  • Choose an ATM that is located inside a building, such as the Danna Center or other well-lit locations. Never count cash at the machine or in public. Wait until you are in a secure place.
  • Obtain a whistle from the Campus Safety & Security Department and carry it with you at all times. Use your whistle to draw attention.
  • Call for an escort.

Residence

  • Always lock your car and your room. Students will commonly leave their door unlocked if they are expecting a visitor or if they are going to be away for just a minute. Many thefts occur when the student is away from their room for just a few minutes. Do not loan out your key. Re-key locks when a key is lost or stolen.
  • Always lock your doors and 1st and 2nd floor windows at night. Never compromise your safety for a roommate who asks you to leave the door unlocked.
  • Never give your keys or your student id/keycard to anyone, even if they are your best friend. With your room keys, they can enter your room at any time that they want. With your student id, anyone who has it can enter your residential building anytime they want and also use your meal plans as they please.
  • Residence Halls have a central entrance/exit lobby where nighttime access is monitored, as well as an outside telephone which visitors must use to gain access.
  • Do not leave your identification, wallets, checkbooks, jewelry, cameras, and other valuables in open view. Avoid displaying large amounts of cash or other tempting targets such as jewelry or expensive clothing.
  • University police as well as all R. A.s have invisible ultra-violet markers that can be used to I.D your property that helps get your property back to you if it is stolen as well as help convict the person who stole it. University police also have electric engravers that can be used. Take advantage of these crime prevention tools.
  • Program your phone's speed dial memory with emergency numbers that include “911 and family and friends.
  • Know your neighbors and don't be reluctant to report illegal activities and suspicious loitering.

Plan What You Will Do if Confronted by an Assailant

  • Be aware that you are a potential victim of a crime. Stay alert and attuned to people and circumstances around you.
  • Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself.
  • An immediate reaction of yelling or screaming may be helpful.
  • You are worth more than all the money or possessions you may have. Those items may be replaced.
  • Every emergency situation is different. Only you can decide what course of action is appropriate.
  • Send the message that you’re calm, confident, and know where you’re going, even if you don’t.
  • Trust your instincts. If something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person or leave.
  • Sign up for a self-defense course such as Rape Aggression Defense System (RADS) that is offered by university police several times each semester

If a Crime does Occur

If a crime does occur on campus or in off-campus housing, immediately notify the police. Any delay in reporting an incident decreases the chances of apprehending the suspect. University police maintains a close working relationship with local police districts and will assist you in every way possible if you become the victim of a crime.

Bike Safety

  • Consider using a U-Bolt style lock for your bicycle. Attach lock through a wheel, the frame, and a stationary object such as a bicycle rack.
  • Register your bicycle’s make, model and serial number with university police. It’s free and will help in the recovery of your bike should it become misplaced or stolen..
  • Engrave the bicycle to deter thieves and to help in identifying and returning a stolen bicycle. Mark your identification in two different locations
    on non-removable parts.
  • Report any suspicious behavior you see around the bicycle racks. Never leave your bicycle unattended anywhere.
  • Be sure that the bicycle can not be lifted over what you are locking it to.
  • For bicycles with quick-release wheels, lock both wheels and the frame to a secure structure.
  • Secure components such asseat posts with quick release levers, lights, saddle bags or remove them.
  • Make the lock as awkward as possible to get at.
  • Do not leave your bicycle locked to racks on campus over the summer unless you are attending the summer semester.
  • Before you walk away from your bicycle, do a quick check that your lock is really secure and there are no easily removable items.
  • Make sure that in parking and locking your bicycle you are not impeding pedestrian or handicap access.
  • Keep a record of your bicycle's make, model, color, and frame number.

Dating Safety

Rapists are not always strangers. When someone you know—a date, steady, acquaintance, or casual friend—forces you to have sex, it is still rape.

  • Always tell someone where you are going with your date and when you are expected to return.
  • Check out a first date or a blind date with friends. Meet in public places. Carry money for a taxi or take your own car in case you need to cut the date short.
  • Pay attention to what your date says about himself. If you detect discrepancies this should raise a flag.
  • Trust your instincts. If a place or the way your date acts makes you nervous or uneasy get away from the situation.
  • When out with friends, keep together and try not to get separated. Do not leave a social event with someone you have just met or do not know well.
  • Be aware that alcohol or other drugs decrease your ability to take care of yourself and make sensible decisions.
  • Do not accept beverages from someone you do not know or trust. Always watch your drink and never leave it unattended.
  • Use common sense. Realize that you do not have the right to force a person to have sex just because you paid for their dinner or drinks.
  • Accept a woman’s decision when she says, “No!” Do not interpret it as a challenge.
  • Avoid clouding your judgment and understanding of what another person wants by using alcohol or drugs.
  • Do not assume that a woman wants to have sex just because she is drinking heavily, the way she dresses, or agrees to go home with you.
  • Never have sex with anyone who is passed out or inebriated.
  • Understand that having sex with someone who is inebriated is non-consensual and considered sexual assault.
  • Do not assume that just because a woman has had sex with you previously she is willing to have sex with you again.
  • Do not assume that if a woman consents to kissing or other sexual intimacies she is willing to have sexual intercourse.
  • Realize that forcing a woman to have sex against her will is rape, a violent crime with serious consequences.
  • Never be drawn into a gang rape. Be prepared to resist pressure from friends to participate.
  • If you see a woman in trouble at a party or a male friend using force or pressuring a woman, do not be afraid to intervene. Your intervention may prevent the woman from the trauma of sexual assault and prevent your friend from the ordeal of criminal repercussions.
  • Ask yourself how sexual stereotypes affect your attitudes and actions toward women.
  • Seek counseling or a support group to help you deal with feelings of violence and aggression toward women.

If you become a victim of sexual violence….

  • Consider getting medical attention as soon as possible. Do not shower, wash, douche, or change you clothes. Valuable evidence could be destroyed.
    • The LSU Interim Public Hospital (2021 Perdido St. 504-903-3000 - ER entrance on Gravier St.) provides free sexual assault medical examinations including evidence collection which  you can opt to use or discard once you decide whether or not to report to NOPD.
  • Consider seeking help. Isolation and avoidance can exacerbate shame and guilt. There are people who care. Click here for a list of campus advocates and information regarding counseling services.
  • Consider counseling to deal with the emotional upheval.
    • To speak to a counselor if you are in crisis, call LUPD (504-865-3434) and ask to speak with the counselor on duty.
  • If you think you’ve been assaulted while under the influence of Rohypnol, GHB, seek medical attentions immediately. Try not to urinate before providing urine samples, and if possible collect any glasses from which you drank.

What are “date rape” drugs….

  • Rohyponol (“roofies,” “circles,” “the forget pills”) works like a tranquilizer. It causes muscle weakness, fatigue, slurred speech, loss of motor coordination and judgment, and amnesia that lasts up to 24 hours. It looks like an aspirin(small, white, and round).
  • GHB (also known as “liquid X,” “salt water,” or “scoop”) causes quick sedation. Its effects are drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, coma, and possibly death. Its most common form is a clear liquid, although it also can take the form of a white, grainy powder.
  • Rohypnol and GHB are called the date rape drugs because when they are slipped into someone’s drink a sexual assault can take place without the victim being able to remember what happened.
  • Alcohol is the substance most commonly associated with sexual violence within college campus communities.

On Line Dating

  • Never give out your home address, phone number, the name of your school or any other personal details to people you do not know.
  • If you decide to talk to someone on the phone, ask to call him/her. Make sure to use caller ID block (*67).
  • Use a nickname in chat rooms or message boards.
  • Trust your instincts. If you pick up on contradictions or inconsistencies from your chat friend, or something does not feel right, end your communication with him/her.
  • Meet chat friends in public places.
  • Always tell someone where you are going with your on-line date and when you will return.
  • Take a cell phone with you.
  • Never go to someone’s house that you have just met.

Car Safety

  • Keep your car in good running condition. Make sure there’s enough gas to get where you’re going and back.
  • Have your keys ready before getting into your vehicle. Lock the doors immediately upon entering your vehicle.
  • Always roll up the windows and lock car doors, even if you’re coming right back. Check inside and out before getting inside.
  • Avoid parking in isolated areas. Be especially alert in parking lots and underground parking garages. Park in well lit areas.
  • If you think someone is following you home. Drive to the nearest police or fire station, gas station, or other open business to get help.
  • If your vehicle breaks down, call for help on  your cell phone, lock all windows and doors on the vehicle and don’t open the vehicle for anyone until help arrives.
  • Make sure that you have a spare tire that is properly inflated and that you have the tools and knowledge to change a flat tire if you have to. Consider enrollment in a motorists assistance program such as AAA. They will change your tire for you, bring gas or jump your battery if needed.
  • Never leave your credit cards or other important papers in the glove department. Never leave any objects in plain view. Remember to place valuables left in your car under your seat, in your trunk, or somewhere else out of sight. To leave CDs or a portable CD player on your seat invites someone to break a window from your car and grab them. As you know, CDs are expensive and having just 10 stolen is over a $150.00 loss.
  • Do not mark your key chain with your name, address, and license number. Lost keys can lead a thief to your car or home.
  • Do not leave your house and car keys together with an attendant at a public parking lot. Your house key can be quickly duplicated and your address obtained from your plate number.
  • Use the “Club” or other auto theft prevention tools.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers