“RUPD would like to remind students, staff and faculty to remain vigilant about personal safety and security and to take steps to prevent becoming a target of crime,” Police Chief Johnny Whitehead wrote in his email last week. Below are some of the common sense tips RUPD shared to improve personal safety:
• Be aware of your surroundings and alert to any signs that something may be wrong or out of place. Pay attention to your instincts.
• Do not leave valuables in plain view in your car – especially gifts after you return from holiday shopping. And don’t leave your laptop, backpack, purse and other valuables unattended in a classroom, at the library, in the locker room, in the dining hall or at a sporting event, lecture or other campus activity.
• Have your car keys ready to unlock your car door so that you don’t become a victim while fumbling through your purse or backpack.
• Avoid distractions that decrease your awareness level, such as talking on a cellphone or wearing headphones.
• Travel with family and friends. Walking in a group decreases your chances of becoming a victim.
• Ask for a police escort if you have to travel alone at night across campus or to the Rice Village Apartments or the Rice Graduate Apartments by calling 713-348-6000.
• Report any suspicious activity or emergencies on or near Rice property immediately to RUPD at 713-348-6000. If you’re off campus, call 911.
• Program RUPD’s number into your cellphone for quick access.
• Use the emergency blue light phones located around campus that ring directly to RUPD to get help during an emergency, to request a police escort or to report suspicious activity.
• If you are attacked, don’t fight back. Cooperate with the assailant and then contact the police as soon as it is safe to do so. Defend yourself only as a last resort if you are being physically assaulted.
• Park in highly visible areas and check for lighting in case you’ll be leaving when it is dark.
• Keep your bike locked up, and register it with RUPD.
“Our purpose is to help you achieve your research, teaching and learning goals in a safe and orderly environment,” Whitehead said. “We believe these strategies will assist you, family and friends on or off campus.”