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Safety Issues

Public Safety officer riding bicycle

Annoying or Harassing Phone Calls

Receiving unwanted calls can be frustrating and sometimes frightening. However, in most cases, the calls can be stopped by using some simple but effective techniques.

1. How to Handle Abusive, Harassing, or Obscene Calls:

These calls are made for any number of reasons and often they're placed by someone you know. The key to handling the calls is do not react to them. Reacting could encourage the caller. Often calls are a result of;

  • broken relationships
  • an unhappy employee or co-worker
  • neighborhood disputes such as a barking dog or playing the stereo too loud
  • people who simply hang up if someone other than the person they're calling answers

If you get such a call, some suggested course of action is:

  • Hang up when you realize the call is intended to harass you.
  • Keep track of the date and time of the calls to determine the pattern. This can help us identify possible suspects.
  • Inform the caller that the phone company is going to trace your calls.

2. How to Handle Threatening Calls

If you receive a call threatening harm to your life, property or family:

  • Hang up the phone
  • Write down the time of the call, or be sure NOT to delete your call log
  • Immediately Notify University Police

Auto Accidents

  • If you have an accident involving damage or injuries, notify the police immediately. ( Call 911)
  • Give location, number of vehicles and names of the parties involved.
  • Exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance information and license plate numbers

Preventing Bike Crime

  • Always lock your bike, it only takes a few seconds. 
  • Lock your bike to a fixed, immovable object, such as a bike rack.
  • Be careful that your bike cannot be lifted over the top of the object to which it is locked to
  • Lock your bike through the frame, not a wheel or other part that can be easily detached.
  • Secure your bike in a well used public area that had good lighting. Secluded or dark areas provide the best opportunity for theft.
  • Thieves are opportunistic, most prefer to steal bikes that are unlocked or have locks that are easily defeated.

Preventing Auto Theft or Theft From Auto

  • Always roll up your windows and lock your car even if you'll only be gone a short time.
  • Put valuables out of sight. The arm rest, glove box or trunk
    • Thieves are opportunistic and may be motivated by items which are visible inside.
  • Try to park in a well-lit area
  • If you have a car alarm, use it!
  • Know your occupants. Don't give rides to strangers or people whom you don't trust.

Preventing Theft of Personal Property

  • Don't leave money or valuables in the open.
  • Don't bring expensive jewelry or irreplaceable items to school.
  • Mark your personal items in a permanent way, such as with an engraver.
  • Make sure your room is locked when you leave.
  • Don't leave your property unattended.
  • Don't expect your roommates to safeguard your belongings in your room.
    • Your property is your responsibility. If you are leaving it, secure it. 

Maintaining Personal Safety

  • Always walk in groups
  • Stick to well-lit and brush-free paths
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Report anything suspicious to Public Safety
  • Invest in self-defense devices or take a self defense course
    • University Police conduct free training periodically throughout the year.
  • Carry a whistle to alert people of a potential problem
  • Stay alert and tuned into your surroundings.
  • Don't flash large amounts of cash.
  • Keep jewelry out of sight.
  • Carry your purse close to your body.
  • Use ATMs in the daytime, if possible. Have your card in hand and don't approach the machine if you're uneasy about people nearby.
  • Have your car keys or key card in hand before you reach the door.

Road Rage

  • If someone is tailgating you, pull into the slow lane and let them pass.
  • Don't take traffic problems personally.
  • Don't make escalate the situation by making obscene gestures or driving aggressively

Safety Tips for Computers

  • Always secure your device with a password or through biometic security. Your computer has a lot of information about you, secure it!
  • Never leave your laptop computer unattended in a public place. Use a portable locking device or motion sensor alarm at all times.
  • Carry your computer in an inconspicuous bag rather than one that announces it contents to would-be-theives.
  • Students should try to use portable locking devices on their laptops in libraries, labs and general study areas on campus as well in dorm rooms.
  • Etch or engrave your name and telephone number onto your laptop for identification purposes.
  • Record the serial number and detailed description of your laptop, give to police and insurance company in the event of a theft. Keep this information in a safe place at your home.
  • Regularly back up your data and store back-up somewhere else in the event of theft. 

Shopping in Cyberspace

  • Do business with companies you know and trust.
  • Understand the offer. Look carefully at the product or services the company is offering.
  • Use a secure browser that will encrypt or scramble purchase information.
  • Never give a bank account or credit car number or other personal information to anyone you don't know or haven't checked out.

Preventing ID Theft at College

 According to the Wisconsin Office of Privacy Protection, young people, 18 to 29, continue to account for almost 30 percent of all identity theft complaints. Janet Jenkins, Division of Trade and Consumer Protection Administrator advises the following:

  • Checking your credit report regularly is one of the best ways to protect against identity theft. Often, you can get your free credit report from major providers such as Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion
  • Safeguard your mail. Check it daily. If you receive junk mail, don't be so quick to throw it out without opening it first. It might contain personally identifiable information and should be disposed of securely.
  • Stop pre-approved credit card offers by calling toll-free to 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688) or by visiting the Opt Out website at
  • Guard your social security number. Unless you have a need don't carry your social security card or passport with you and don't use your social security number as a PIN or password if you can avoid it.
  • Make sure your electronic devices such as computers and smart phones are adequately protected from virus, spam, and spyware.
  • Check your passpoints, bills and bank statements often to see if there are any unauthorized charges or withdrawals. If there are, report them right away.
    • Often, deposits or withdrawals of 1 cent or similar are used to test if electronic information works prior to a large withdrawal.

Walking and Running Safety Tips

 Whether you are walking or running on one our campus trails, sidewalks or sharing the roads with cars and trucks you can do some things to take personal responsibility for your own safety.  Here are some tips that could keep you safer:

  • Run or walk facing traffic and Obey Pedestrian safety laws – Stay to the left side of the roadway as far as practical.  This allows you to see approaching vehicles or people and allows you time to respond if needed.
  • Head up, Phone down – Carry a phone for emergencies, but never walk or run while texting or talking on the phone.  If you must use the phone stop and move out of the way of others.  Never cross the street while using any electronic device.
  • Do not wear headphones or earbuds – The tradeoff for the music is diminished personal safety especially on an isolated road, walkway or trail. 
  • Walk with a friend – Walking with a friend is a great motivator and makes the time more enjoyable.  More importantly there is always safety in numbers.
  • Let someone know where you are going and when to expect you back – Let them know when you are back, that way if you do not arrive back on time someone knows where to look for you. 
  • Have a plan -Taking personal responsibility for your safety means thinking about how you will respond in a difficult situation. Never let your guard down even if you have followed the same route hundreds of times.  There is a difference between felling safe and being safe.  Having a plan helps you be safe and feel safe.
  • Be seen – To increase your visibility to drivers, try to wear light colored or reflective clothing. During hours of diminished natural lighting the use of flashlights or other lights is always a good idea
Students walking outdoors on campus
  • Avoid tick bites – when using the trails dress defensively: cover up with long sleeves and long pants, wear hat that covers your ears and hair, light colored clothing makes it easier to see ticks before they have a chance to embed.
  • Vary your route – It is more interesting to experience different surroundings and prevents anyone else from predicting your whereabouts or routine.
  • Be aware of your surroundings – Watch for ice, water, bike riders or any hazard in your path. 
  • Know where you are – Be prepared to accurately provide your location if you call for help.  For example: the Arboretum trails have colored posts to help identify your location.
  • See something, say something – Report any suspicious activity to Public Safety.