RUPD offers holiday safety tips

Do not leave valuables in plain view in your car — especially gifts after you do your holiday shopping.

That’s one of the tips offered by Rice University Police Department (RUPD) in an email to the Rice community about holiday safety.

Picture showing a thief getting ready to grab a shopping bag left on the front seat of a car

Avoid leaving holiday shopping bags on the car seat, where they become easy targets for thieves.

“Now that December is here and holiday shopping is underway, RUPD would like to remind students, staff and faculty to remain vigilant about safety and security and to take the steps below to prevent becoming a victim of crime,” Chief of Police Johnny Whitehead said.

Below are additional tips from the email:

  • 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. You can also request an escort when you get off the METRORail train at the station across from campus if you feel suspicious or uncomfortable about someone who might be following you.
    •    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 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.”

For additional information on safety and Rice’s crime stats, read RUPD’s 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.