The UW-Whitewater campus, like any other place, is not exempt from crime. Students, faculty and staff can help to make this special community a safer place to learn, live and work by practicing some basic precautions, such as being alert and looking out for others.
The following tips will assist you to become more aware and, by using them, lessen your chances of becoming a victim of crime:
Residence Hall Safety & Security
Don't leave valuables, such as a checkbook, wallet, cash or jewelry, out in plain sight. Secure them inside of a drawer. You should not keep large sums of cash in your room. Open a checking account or get a credit/debit card that will replace the need to have cash on hand.
Lock your residence hall room door, even if you're only going to the bathroom or away from the area for a few minutes. Don't share information about the door combinations with others. The person you tell may be a friend, but you have no idea who they might accidentally tell. University keys should never be lent to anyone. It's impossible to determine if they duplicated them.
If you see unusual or suspicious activities, report it immediately to University Police. Pay attention to people you don't recognize who are on your floor. They may be just friends of someone else, but they also could be looking for an opportunity to steal or vandalize. If you see a crime occurring, call 911 right away! Don't assume someone else has already called the police.
Report any broken windows, door latches or lights that aren't functioning to Residence Hall staff. This way the items will get fixed in a timely fashion.
Hang up immediately if you receive an obscene or annoying call. Don't engage the person in conversation or become upset with them. If you do, you are under their control and are doing exactly what they want you to do. Never reveal personal information or say you're in your room alone if you don't recognize the person's voice. Be suspicious of callers who say they are conducting a survey, inform you that you've won a "prize" or request information, such as your credit card number. Log the date and time that the obscene or annoying call was received. Contact University Police for further advice on dealing with this type of call or to investigate repeated calls.
Campus Safety & Security
Go out with a friend; not alone. Walking alone, especially at night, is not a good idea. Always walk purposefully and look confident. Stay alert to your surroundings and the people in the area. During darkness, use the lighted sidewalks and parking lots for your travels and avoid shortcuts on unlit paths or secluded areas.
Be cautious about isolated areas, such as library stacks, remote classrooms or laboratories. When you need to in these areas after normal class hours, make arrangements to work or study with a trusted classmate or friend. Let others know where you'll be and when you plan on returning.
NEVER hitchhike or give people you don't know rides. Accept rides from persons you know and trust. If you are being harassed by someone who is in a car, walk swiftly or run in the opposite direction to a safe area. If you're really frightened, scream! It's better to be embarrassed than assaulted. Try to remember the license plate number of the vehicle.
When going socializing, pair up with other friends. Stick together and don't let a friend go off alone with someone they've just met.
Watch for and remember the locations of the various Emergency Telephones situated around the campus.
Look for situations or conditions on campus that might unconsciously encourage crime, like non-functioning lights or malfunctioning door locks. Notify University Police or campus maintenance of the problems. Get involved, possibly through student government, in the security of the campus by working with university administration and University Police to improve safety.
Vehicle & Bicycle Security
Lock all doors and close all windows when leaving your car, whether it's for just a few minutes or several hours. Park in well-lit areas and try not to walk alone in parking lots at night.
Store valuables in the car's truck or, at least, hide them from the view of someone looking through the windows. Stereo components, cellular phones and radar detectors are the favorite items of thieves. Record the serial numbers of these items and secure them when parking your vehicle.
Don't attach your name or address to your key ring. Keep your car keys on a separate ring from your other keys. Have your keys in your hand when returning to the parked vehicle. Check the interior before entering the car and lock the doors immediately after getting inside of it.
When driving, always keep your gas tank at least half full and make sure the car is in good running condition. If your car breaks down, raise the hood and stay inside the locked vehicle. Don't get out of the car if someone stops to help you. Tell anyone who stops to help that someone else has already called the police, but ask them to call again because you don't know for sure if the other person did make the call. This ruse may make someone think twice about taking advantage of you and those with good intentions will usually make the call "again". Sound the car's horn if you are threatened or someone attempts to enter the car.
ALWAYS lock your bicycle to an object, such as a campus bike rack. However, don't secure it to stair railing because its presence could hamper the buildings evacuation in an emergency. Remember to also secure removable wheels or seats.
Immediately report a "missing" bicycle to the University Police. Unsecured bikes are often taken for "joy rides" to other areas of the campus or city. Record the serial number, make and model number of your bike. By providing this information to the police, the bike can be listed on a national database. If the bike is found, it can be returned to you.
If you're attacked, try to stay as calm as possible. Think rationally and evaluate your resources or options. Escape is always the best defense. Other tactics may include negotiation, screaming to attract attention, self-defense techniques or, even, acting "crazy". You will have to make a decision based on the circumstances, such as the presence of a weapon, and the type of person you are. There is no one, right answer. Your personal survival may be at stake and you must do whatever is necessary to insure it.
Try to get an accurate description of the assailant's appearance, what was said and the license plate number, if a vehicle is involved. CALL UNIVERSITY POLICE, USING 911, IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE ATTACK! Do not clean up yourself in the area and don't "think it over" before calling. Also, don't worry about unrelated events, such as you being under age and having consumed alcohol. Right now, the focus of the police investigation is you as a victim of an attack. Your report may also save someone else from becoming a victim or the information you provide may solve other similar incidents.
Verbally role play potentially dangerous situations with your friends and discuss how you would respond to the threat. What would you do if you found a stranger in your room or if you were threatened - verbally or physically - while walking on campus?
These are only a few suggestions to help you. Contact University Police for more information or arrange to have them do a presentation on a crime prevention topic for you and your friends or the residents of your floor.