RUPD issues safety tips for holiday season

As a tradition of the holiday season, the Rice University Police Department (RUPD) sent a campuswide email Nov. 17 reminding students, staff and faculty to remain vigilant about safety and security and to follow some safety tips to prevent becoming a victim of crime, especially while shopping.

“Our purpose is to help you achieve your research, teaching and learning goals in a safe and orderly environment,” said Rice Chief of Police Johnny Whitehead. “We believe these strategies will assist you, family and friends on or off campus.”

Below are the safety tips from RUPD:

Don't leave gifts and other valuables on car seats, where they are easy targets for thieves.

•    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.
•    Be aware of your surroundings and alert to any signs that something may be wrong or out of place. Pay attention to your instincts.
•    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.

For additional information on safety and our crime stats, you can read our Annual Security Report at

For more information about area neighborhoods, visit the Houston Police Department’s website at


About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.