Safety Tips for On and Off Campus
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIPS
- Know your environment. Gallaudet is in a big city. The University and the neighboring community are not isolated from crime.
- Do not go out alone unless absolutely necessary.
- Only take with you what you need in case you are robbed or items are lost. It will be less of a loss. Do not display valuables such as money, pagers, cell phones, expensive jewelry, or a purse.
- Let someone know where are going and when you will return home. Let that person know if you are going to be late. Also tell that person to contact the Department of Public Safety (on campus) or the Metropolitan Police (off campus) if you do not arrive within a reasonable period of time.
- Stay in well-lit areas. AVOID ALLEYS, VACANT LOTS, WOODED AREAS, AND OTHER SHORTCUTS.
- Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. AVOID DOORWAYS, BUSHES, AND OTHER POTENTIAL HIDING PLACES.
- Walk facing traffic if you must walk in the street.
- Walk confidently and at a steady pace.
- Do not use a pager or cell phone while walking. Keep them out of sight.
- Wear clothing and shoes that give you freedom of movement.
- Never hitchhike or accept rides from strangers. Never pick up a hitchhiker.
- Avoid excessive drinking - it affects your judgment.
Trust your instincts! If someone or some situation makes you uneasy, leave the area you are in. Cross the street, go into a store or building, or get in your car and go home.
- Use machines you are familiar with - those on campus or inside a bank are the best.
- Try to go with a friend if possible so that your companion can watch for danger.
- Look around before conducting your transaction. If you see anyone or anything suspicious, leave!
- Make sure the ATM is in a well-lit area.
- Never walk away from the ATM machine with cash in hand.
- Consider asking for cash back when making a purchase with a debit card rather than using an ATM machine.
If someone tries to rob you, don't resist. Give up your property - not your life!
- Lock the door to your room or home - when you are inside and when you leave.
- Never brag about what you have at home.
- Take advantage of the on-campus escort service and personal safety checks offered by the Department of Public Safety.
- Engrave your valuables by using Operation ID, a service of the Department of Public Safety.
- Keep written and photographic records of valuable items for insurance purposes.
- Never prop doors open.
- Make sure you know your guests - do not allow individuals whom you know only casually to enter your home.
- Never leave cash, credit cards, or valuables out in the open. If you have a laptop computer, lock it in a desk or cabinet when you are out.
Feel safe at home. Don't let anyone in unless you are absolutely sure of your safety.
- Lock your car, even if you are in it - both on and off campus.
- Don't leave expensive property in plain view in your car. Lock items in your trunk or take them with you.
- Consider investing in a car alarm if you have expensive stereo equipment in your car.
- Always park in a secure, well-lit area.
- If you see another motorist stranded on the road, do not stop on help. Flag down a police officer or notify the police in some other way.
- If you are stranded in your car, and someone offers to help, just ask that person to call the police. Do not accept help from the police unless they are in uniform and in a marked patrol vehicle.
If a carjacker demands your car, give it up! Your life and health are more important than any vehicle.
- Try to stall for time to figure out your options. Each situation is different. Decide if you will fight, run, submit, or use some other tactic.
- If you fight, hit hard and fast. Target the eyes or groin.
- Tell the attacker you have a sexually transmitted disease or are menstruating.
- Try urinating or vomiting - anything to discourage the attacker.
- Blow a whistle and run as fast as you can.
- Be responsible when drinking alcohol, and never accept a "special drink." Many sexual assault incidents happen when women are drinking.
- If you are sexually assaulted, go directly to the Washington Hospital Center for medical help.
- Go to the Washington Hospital Center immediately; do not shower or wash your clothing. File a report with MPD and/or DPS as soon as possible after the incident if you choose to do so. Even if you do not wish to press charges, you are encouraged to go to the Washington Hospital Center. The Washington Hospital Center can offer assistance and referrals to sources of support sooner while more options are available rather than later. Remember, you might not have been the first person the aggressor has attacked. Many sexual assaults go unreported and victims are encouraged to report to help prevent future incidents from occurring.
If you are ever the survivor of a sexual assault, remember you are a survivor, not the person who did something wrong.
Safeguarding Your Identity
During an average day you may shop online, use the ATM, or make a purchase using your credit card. As routine as these activities may seem, they may lead to you becoming a victim of identity theft. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America, affecting approximately 900,000 new victims each year. The average victim spends more than 175 hours and one thousand dollars in out-of-pocket expenses to clear their name. Job opportunities can be lost, loans refused-you can even be arrested for crimes you did not commit. With just a small amount of personal information, someone can steal your identity and use if for financial gain.
Top 10 Sources of Identity Theft
- Mail Theft - thieves will not only steal your mail, they may also complete a change of address card and have your mail directed to them
- Phone scams
- Unscrupulous employees
- Dumpster diving
- Stolen or lost wallets
- Internet fraud
- Burglary (home, vehicle, computer files, documents, etc.)
- Friends or relatives
- Shoulder surfing for passwords at ATMs, computers, etc.
- Unethical use of public documents
Minimize Your Risk of Becoming a Victim
You can minimize your risk of becoming a victim by managing your personal information wisely. You are careful about locking up your home and your car to prevent theft, but an identity thief can steal from you without ever setting foot in your home. Practice the following tips to help protect you and your family.
- Don't give your personal information over the phone in an unsolicited call. Be cautious. Ask the caller to send you information in writing.
- Shred important documents before discarding. Identity thieves will go through your trash and retrieve copies of your checks, credit card and bank statements, mail, and other personal records.
- Do not carry your Social Security card, birth certificate, or passport.
- Monitor your bank records and credit reports often. Check your credit report at least once a year and check your bank statements monthly. If you notice any errors, contact your bank immediately.
- If your bank offers paperless statements, subscribe to the service.
- The Internet provides us with a convenient way to do business, but you should be careful about giving personal information. Identity thieves may use technology to target their victims. You can verify the integrity of a site through the Better Business Bureau Online at http://www.bbbonline.org. The site also has helpful tips about shopping online.
- Do not give out your passwords to email accounts, your PINs, or date of birth and social security number to persons on email or AIM. Your banking institution already has your account number, social security number, and date of birth on file, so any contact asking for that information is immediately suspect.
If You Become a Victim ...
Should you suspect someone has opened an unauthorized account in your name or accessed your bank information, contact that institution and the police. You can also place an alert on your information with any one of the three credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian:
Fraud Victim Assistance Division
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
P.O. Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013
Institutions will be required to contact you personally before opening an account or approving a loan in your name to verify it is you. For more information on identity theft or credit card fraud and other related crimes, see the Federal Trade Commission's website at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/index.html. The Federal Trade Commission can be contacted at 877-438-4338.