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Public Safety / SDSU Police Department

Business & Financial Affairs > Police Department > Crime Prevention > 


Personal Safety Awareness

Personal safety is about risk reduction, using good common sense and trusting your instincts.

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Protect Yourself at Home in your Residence Hall

  • Lock your door, even when you intend to return home shortly or even if you are just going down the hall. It takes a thief ten seconds or less to enter an open room and steal your property.
  • Lock or secure doors and windows when you are alone or asleep.
  • Keep emergency numbers by your phone.
  • Do not leave messages on your door indicating that you are away and when you will return.
  • Do not let strangers enter a residence hall or its premises.
  • Do not prop open outer doors. If someone asks to use your phone for an emergency call, offer to telephone for them instead of allowing them access.
  • Do not put your address on your key ring.
  • Know your neighbors.
  • Do not leave keys in hiding places. Thieves will find them. Carry your keys or make sure that anyone who truly needs them has their own copy.
  • Call 911 to report suspicious persons or activities in or around your neighborhood.
  • Open a savings or checking account instead of keeping money in your room.
  • Keep automatic teller machine cards in a safe place, and keep your PIN number secret. When possible, only use ATM machines during the day.
  • Instead of carrying large sums of cash, use a charge card. Some charge cards insure property purchased with those cards against loss, theft or damage.
  • If you find yourself in immediate danger, call 911; try to stay calm and get away at the first opportunity.



Protect Yourself When Walking

  • Avoid walking alone at night unless absolutely necessary.
  • Make use of SDSU’s Escort Program when walking on campus after dark.
  • Call 911 to report suspicious persons or activity in or around your neighborhood.
  • Avoid shortcuts and dark, isolated areas.
  • Walk purposefully, know where you are going, and project a no-nonsense image.
  • Avoid potentially dangerous situations.
  • If you feel threatened, cross the street, locate an emergency phone, or enter a store or place of business even if you have just left it.
  • Have your door keys ready; carry them in your pockets, not buried in a purse.
  • If you carry pepper spray, be familiar with how it works and have it available in case you need it.



Protect Yourself When Using Public Transportation

  • Have your fare or pass ready in hand when boarding the bus.
  • During off hours, ride as near to the driver as possible.
  • If someone on the bus bothers you, change seats and tell the driver.
  • Look around when getting off the bus or trolley, and be aware of those around you.
  • If you are going to be out late, be sure you have cab fare.
  • At night, avoid dark and isolated intersections or stops.



Protect Yourself from Carjacking

Carjacking is the taking of a motor vehicle in the possession of another by means of force or fear. Security conscious drivers are less likely to be a victim of carjacking than those who are careless. Crimes can take place at any time but more often take place at night, and are more often committed by young males. Top spots for carjacking include intersections and parking lots at malls, apartments, businesses and schools. The following precautions will reduce your chances of being victimized:

Getting In

  • Reduce your chances of being carjacked by walking to your car purposefully, and stay alert.
  • Approach your car with the key in hand. Look around and inside the car before getting in.

Getting Out

  • Park in well-lighted areas, near sidewalks or walkways. Avoid parking near dumpsters, wooded areas, large vans or trucks, or anything else that limits your visibility.
  • Never leave valuables in plain view even if the car is locked. Put them in the trunk or out of sight.
  • Keep doors locked and windows rolled up, no matter how short the distance or how safe the area.
  • Look around, especially at places where you slow down or stop such as garages and parking lots, intersections, self-serve gas stations and car washes, highway entry and exit ramps, and ATM's.
  • When coming to a stop, leave enough room to maneuver around other cars, especially if you sense trouble and need to get away.
  • Avoid driving alone, if possible. Travel with someone, especially at night.
  • Don’t stop to assist a stranger whose car has broken down. Help instead by using your cell phone or driving to the nearest phone and calling police to help.
  • Always keep your car well maintained, and make sure you have plenty of gas.

If It Happens to You

  • If the carjacker threatens you with a gun or other weapon, give up your car. Don’t argue. Your life is worth more than a car.
  • Get away as quickly as possible.
  • Contact the police immediately.



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References & Resources

For more information, contact your Public Safety, Crime Prevention Specialist (E-mail, or phone 594-1985) or review the following materials, from our publications library.

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view, download Adobe Acrobat Reader.


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This page last updated July 2, 2014
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