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 our officers are 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, 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 trunk, or at least hide them from view.
  • If someone approaches your vehicle and attempts to enter, blow the horn to attract attention and drive away.