Proactive Crime Prevention Tips

  • If you observe something and then wonder if you should have reported it, you probably should have.

    Everyone is responsible for helping to create a secure and supportive environment at IUP, one in which all people are safe to learn, visit, work, and live. The principles of responsibility and respect serve as the foundation for the success and productivity of our community.

    If you think you should report a crime to University Police, you may do so anonymously by calling the Crime Tip Hotline at 724-357-2255. If you are not comfortable reporting anonymously by phone, you may report anonymously online.

    While it is impossible to prevent all crime, personal security precautions and actions can help to prevent becoming a victim of a crime:

    • Never take personal safety for granted.

    • Report all suspicious activity to University Police immediately.   

    • Avoid walking alone at night. University Police offers an escort service.

    • Limit your alcohol consumption and leave social functions that get too loud, too crowded, or have too many people drinking excessively.

    • Call University Police or other law enforcement for help at the first sign of trouble. In certain instances, IUP’s Bystander Involvement (Medical Amnesty) policy and Pennsylvania ACT 66 protects a person under 21 from being prosecuted for underage drinking if they are seeking medical assistance for someone else. 

    • Carry only small amounts of cash. 

    • Never leave valuables (wallets, purses, books, phones, etc.) unattended. 

    • Carry your keys at all times and do not lend them to anyone.

    • Lock up bicycles and motorcycles. Lock car doors and close windows when leaving your car.

    • Always lock the door to your residence hall room, whether or not you are there. Be certain that your door is locked when you go to sleep, and keep windows closed and locked when you are not in your room. Do not prop interior or exterior doors.  

    • Do not leave valuables in your car, especially if they can be easily noticed. 

    • Engrave serial numbers or owner’s recognized numbers, such as a driver’s license number, on items of value. University Police provides an engraving service. 

    • Make an inventory of your personal property and insure it appropriately with personal insurance coverage.

    • Familiarize yourself with the layout of the campus. At night, stick to well-lighted areas and avoid shortcuts through isolated areas.

    • Plan the safest route to your destination; choose well-lighted, busy pathways and streets.

    • Share your class schedule with your parents and trusted friends and give them your telephone numbers.

    • Know where the emergency blue light call boxes are located on campus and learn how to use them.

    • If you believe you are being followed, change direction and go to an emergency blue light phone, call 911, or go into the nearest building and call 911. If you can do so safely, take note of the person following you, so you can give a description.

    • Walk near the curb and avoid shrubbery or other places of potential concealment.

    • Tell a friend or roommate where you are going and what time you expect to return.

    • Stay alert to your surroundings and the people around you.

    • Carry your purse close to your body and keep a firm grip on it; carry your wallet in an inside coat pocket or your front pant pocket.

    • Keep your keys separate from your purse or backpack.

    • Don’t overload yourself with bags or packages and avoid wearing shoes that restrict your movements.

    • Walk with a confident stride; keep your head up and look around.

    • Avoid putting headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking alone.

    • When you go to a social gathering, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, check in with each other throughout the evening, and leave together. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way out of a bad situation.

    • Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe in any situation, go with your gut. If you see something suspicious, call for help by calling 911.

    • Don’t leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call. If you’ve left your drink alone, get a new one.

    • Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know or trust. If you choose to accept a drink, go with the person to the bar to order it, watch it being poured, and carry it yourself. At parties, don’t drink from the punch bowls or other large, common open containers.

    • Watch out for your friends, and ask them to watch out for you. If a friend seems too intoxicated for the amount of alcohol he or she has consumed or is acting out of character, get him or her to a safe place immediately.

    • If you suspect you or a friend has been drugged, contact law enforcement immediately. (Local authorities can be reached by calling 911. Be explicit with doctors, so they can give administer the right tests.)

    If you need to get out of an uncomfortable or scary situation in which you feel threatened, remember that being in the situation is not your fault. It is the fault of the person who is making you feel uncomfortable.  Here are some things you can try to get out of that situation.

    • Be true to yourself. Don’t feel obligated to do anything you don’t want to do. “I don’t want to” is always a good enough reason. Do what feels right to you and what you are comfortable with.

    • Have a code word with your friends or family so that if you don’t feel comfortable you can call them and communicate your discomfort without the knowledge of the person you are with. Your friends or family can then come to get you or make up an excuse for you to leave.

    • Lie. If you don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings, it is better to lie and make up a reason to leave than to stay and be uncomfortable, scared, or worse. Some excuses you could use are needing to take care of a friend or family member, not feeling well, having somewhere else that you need to be, etc.

    • Try to think of an escape route. How would you try to get out of the room? Where are the doors?   Windows? Are there people around who might be able to help you? Is there an emergency phone nearby?

    • If you and/or the other person have been drinking, you can say that you would rather wait until you both have your full judgment before doing anything you may regret later.

    Police Escort  

    University Police encourages you to practice personal safety precautions and, when practical, not walk alone, especially during the hours of darkness. Students and faculty and staff members at both the Indiana and Punxsutawney campuses may request an escort by University Police, and the police will make every effort to accommodate the request, based on workload.  The University Police escort program is intended for campus use only; however, specific requests for an escort within a reasonable proximity of campus are considered on an individual basis.

    To request an IUP police escort, call University Police at 724-357-2141.