Safety Tips

Crime can happen anywhere. Protect yourself, others and property by staying alert, safety-conscious and informed. Trust your instincts, if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

University Police offers safety education programs and is available to speak to your group or department.

Signs of Suspicious Behavior

  • Attempting to enter a residence or vehicle without the proper access.
  • Body language that suggests being watched or chased.
  • Forcibly attempting to enter a locked vehicle or building.
  • Transactions conducted from vehicles, especially near schools or parks.
  • One or more persons sitting in a parked car closely scanning an area.
  • A person seemingly forced into a vehicle.
  • An individual displaying unusual mental or physical symptoms.
  • Unusual noises, including gunshots, screaming, sounds of fighting, barking dogs or anything suggesting foul play, danger or illegal activity.

Contact University Police immediately if you see suspicious activity, witness a crime or feel threatened. It is important to remember that people aren't suspicious, behavior is.  When in doubt, call. 

More Safety Precautions

ATM Safety

  • Try to plan ATM visits during the day, rather than after dark.
  • Choose an ATM location that is in a busy, public place.
  • Be ready with your card handy but not in plain view.
  • Go with a friend, especially if you must use an ATM at night.
  • Stand directly in front of the machine to conceal your personal identification number.
  • Cancel your transaction and walk away if anything seems suspicious.
  • Pocket your money immediately. You can count it later.
  • Immediately report lost or stolen ATM cards.

Jogging Safety

  • Jog with a companion in familiar and public areas facing traffic.
  • Do not jog after dark.
  • Vary your route and pattern.
  • Remain alert. Don't wear stereo earplugs or headphones.
  • If you think you are being followed, go to a well-lit public area, store or residence and draw attention to yourself.
  • Wear bright clothing.
  • Do not jog near bushes and structures where someone could hide.

Laboratory Safety and Security

  • Assess your laboratory for hazardous materials and security risks.
  • Develop and implement security procedures for your laboratory group. Train your laboratory group on these security procedures and assign responsibilities.
  • Control access to areas where hazardous materials are used and stored.
  • Close and lock laboratory doors when no one is present.
  • Do not leave hazardous materials unattended or unsecured at any time.
  • Limit laboratory access to those individuals who need to be in the lab.
  • Escort guests to and from the lab.
  • Approach people you do not recognize and ask if you can direct them.
  • Know what hazardous materials are ordered and shipped to your laboratory.
  • Take periodic inventory of all highly hazardous chemicals, biological agents/toxins, radioactive materials and controlled substances.
  • Properly dispose of unneeded hazardous materials.
  • Immediately report any missing inventory or suspected unauthorized access to University Police and the Office of Research Safety.

Safety at Night

  • Try to avoid working or studying alone in a building at night.
  • If you must work or study late, let someone you trust know where you are and when you will be done.
  • Keep your room or office door closed and locked.
  • Close and lock the door when leaving your office or room, even if only for a few minutes.
  • Never prop a door open or allow others to enter with you.
  • Keep emergency phone numbers handy in case of intrusion, fire or other emergency.
  • Use campus transportation services like SafeRide in Evanston, SafeRide Shuttle in Chicago, University shuttles and University Police Safety Escorts when traveling at night.

Office Safety and Security

  • Request identification from unescorted visitors and unknown repair/delivery personnel. Contact University Police immediately if a person appears suspicious or refuses to show identification.
  • When alone, avoid entering an elevator that is occupied by a stranger. If unavoidable, stand near the controls and locate the emergency button. If you are assaulted, hit the emergency or alarm button, and press as many floor buttons as possible.
  • Take time to familiarize yourself with building evacuation and fire safety plans.
  • Secure computers and other valuable equipment with lock-down devices from the University’s Facilities Management department.
  • Keep an accurate key possession log and recover keys from staff or students who no longer need them.
  • Report stolen keys to University Police and lost keys to Facilities Management.
  • When leaving your office for the day, close and lock doors, windows and desk drawers.

Public Transportation Safety

  • Stay alert to your surroundings.
  • Do not fall asleep while riding public transportation.
  • Try to maintain a schedule that ensures plenty of people are at your bus or train stop.
  • Beware of pickpockets. Place wallets in front pockets and carry a purse that has a secure, strong strap. Be aware of loud commotions that may be staged distractions for pickpocketing.
  • If possible, sit near the driver or operator.
  • If someone bothers you, say in a loud voice, "Leave me alone," and move to another area of the bus or train.
  • If you are followed when you exit, cross the street and go to the nearest well-lit populated area, yell for help or contact the police.

Residence Safety and Security

  • Always lock your door - even during short naps or when you are just down the hall.
  • Use the peephole and identify who is at the door before you open it.
  • Immediately report suspicious activity to University Police.
  • Immediately report lost or stolen room and mailbox keys to residence hall staff.
  • Do not prop secured doors open or let non-residents follow you in.
  • Take time to familiarize yourself with building evacuation and fire safety plans.
  • Keep items such as checkbooks, wallets, cash or jewelry out of plain sight.
  • Don't keep large sums of cash in your room.
  • Report broken windows, door latches or lights to residence hall staff so repairs can be made quickly.
  • Require identification and authorization from all service people.
  • When you are out, let a friend know where you are, with whom you are with and when you will be returning.

Vacation Safety and Security

  • Do not publicize travel plans. Do not announce vacation absences in voicemail, automated email responses or on social networking sites.
  • Make sure you secure or remove valuables in your home or room (i.e. jewelry, computers, electronics, etc.).
  • Before leaving, close and lock all windows, close all shades / drapes and lock and bolt the entrance door.
  • Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your place and pick up mail, newspapers and packages while you are away.
  • Leave your itinerary with a trusted neighbor or friend.
  • Use timers to turn on lights or a radio. Turn phone ringers down or off.
  • While on vacation, don't carry large amounts of cash and keep a charged cell phone with you.

Vehicle Safety and Security

  • Keep windows rolled up and doors locked.
  • Park in well-lit and well-traveled areas.
  • Have your keys ready when approaching your vehicle and look in your back seat before entering.
  • Make sure your car runs well and always has plenty of gas.
  • Keep a charged cell phone with you when driving.
  • Never pick up strangers and never go with a stranger.
  • If you park in a University garage, keep your access card in your wallet rather than inside the vehicle. Immediately report lost or stolen access cards.
  • Store valuables in the car's truck, or at least, hide them from the view.
  • If someone approaches your vehicle and attempts to enter, blow the horn to attract attention and drive away.