University of Kansas Police Department
Personal Security Tips
The following simple tips, when put into practice, can reduce the opportunity for you becoming a crime victim.
Criminals are constantly surveying the environment for an opportunity to commit crimes. Thieves will look for a running vehicle, or an individual who leaves their valuables in the backseat of their vehicle.
Criminal opportunity is accomplished by a lack of witnesses, or the creation of an easy target. The probability of being detected influences a criminal’s decision to commit a crime. Increasing witness potential is one way to reduce criminal opportunity, but being more observant and aware of surroundings is another proactive method of enhancing your security. Don’t make it easy for the criminal to make you a victim!
Methods of reducing criminal opportunity:
- Be alert and aware! While you are walking, keep your mind on what is going on around you. Knowing who is near is the first step to being secure. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, move in the direction of other people.
- Display confidence. Walk with purpose, scan the area around you and make casual eye contact with others to display confidence. This reduces your chances of being targeted by criminals. Don’t wear shoes or clothing that restrict your movements.
- Keep your hands free. Carrying items makes you a more vulnerable target for criminals. Backpacks should be worn on your back, keeping your arms and hands free. Avoid text messaging or lengthy cell phone use while walking alone. Be extra alert; know who and what are around you at all times.
- Trust your instincts. If you have an intuitive feeling something is wrong, trust your instincts. React immediately and take action to reduce your risk. Many individuals suppress these feelings, because they fear their response will offend someone. React to your instincts and don’t worry about someone else’s feelings. If someone approaches you and you feel uncomfortable, move or ask for assistance. Call the Police immediately about all suspicious activity. Don’t worry about “bothering” us because this is what we are here for.
- Ask for help. If you feel vulnerable, ask Police or Security to escort you to your car. This is often another fear individuals have, that they may inconvenience someone for something that did not exist. KUMC Police Escorts can be requested by calling 913-588-5030. It is recommended that staff and students program this number into their cell phones.
- Closely Guard Your Personal Effects: Always closely guard their personal effects. Thefts of personal items such as purses can result in more criminal opportunities such as:
- Identity Theft.
- Stolen Auto: Remote entry key rings allow thieves easy means to identify your car and steal it. See how to prevent auto theft.
- Residential Burglary: Your driver’s license, vehicle registration and other information will most likely have your home address. If you’re at the shopping center, the criminal will know you are not at home! See section about residential security.
Other Helpful Hints:
- Travel on populated, well-lit streets. If possible, travel with a friend. Traveling in groups of two or more significantly reduces your chances of becoming a victim of crime. Most assaults happen to lone victims.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back. Call if you’re going to be late.
- Park your car in a well-lighted area and lock it when you leave. Check for uninvited passengers in the back seat or on the floor before you get in.
- Stay near people. Walking in deserted areas invites trouble. Avoid shortcuts.
- Plan purchases in advance and carry only the amount of cash necessary to make the purchases. If you must carry a large sum of money, divide the cash between your purse, wallet, pockets and other areas.
- Carry your purse close to your body. Place one end of the purse in the palm of your hand and the other in the bend of the elbow. Never carry a purse by the handle or wrap the strap around your body.
- If you are carrying a wallet, carry it in the breast pocket of your jacket or in your side pants pocket. The rear pants pocket is one of the easiest to pick.
- Have your keys in hand before you reach your car or door.
Especially during the holiday shopping season, persons are reminded of the importance of personal safety and security. Seasonal crime trends rise due to increased numbers of shoppers and increase opportunities for criminals. The colder weather and longer hours of darkness also are factors.
If Someone Tries to Rob You
- If the attacker has a weapon and only wants your money or possessions, don’t fight back. Your life and safety are more important.
- Try not to panic. Look at the attacker carefully so you can give a good description to the police.
- Immediately report the crime to the police. Your actions can help prevent others from becoming victims.
- Always lock your car. Close windows all the way and make sure the trunk is locked.
- Even if you’re rushed, look around before you get out and stay alert to the surroundings.
- Control your keys. Never leave an identification tag on your key ring. If your keys are lost or stolen, this could help a thief locate your car and burglarize your home.
- Keep everything of value you can in the trunk of your car. If you do leave packages, clothing, or other articles in the car, make sure they are out of sight or covered.
- Consider anti theft options, such as steering column locks, alarms, switches that interrupt fuel or electronic systems. Many insurance companies offer reduced rates to owners who install security devices.
- Keep your car’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), license plate number, and complete description in a safe place at home.