Personal Safety Tips
Below are a series of tips designed to limit risk in different situations you may encounter on campus and in Chicago. If you find yourself in a life-threatening situation, dial 9-1-1 immediately.
Preparation may be the most important way to limit risk in an emergency situation, which includes familiarizing yourself with important contacts and campus safety procedures.
Download and set up the LifeLine Response app, offered free for North Park students, faculty, and staff. You should also learn the Viking Shuttle route so you can plan to use that when you are traveling around campus at night.
The best time to plan your response to a crime is before it occurs. Consider your options and abilities; think about how you will act if threatened. What items do you normally carry that have self-defense potential? Remember that nothing you own is worth getting hurt over. If you're in danger, do anything you can to escape and call for help.
If you sense a potential threat, consider your options and take action immediately to get away from danger.
- Yell or scream; attract attention. Yell, "Call the Police" and run toward a lighted public area.
- Go into an open business or building and call for help.
- Call 9-1-1 if you are in immediate danger. When you're on campus call Campus Security at (773) 244-5600. Describe what happened and where. Give a detailed description of the suspect, as well as a description of any vehicle involved and its license number. Tell the operator which direction the person went, as well as any other pertinent information.
Protect Your Property
Theft is a crime of opportunity that you may be able to prevent by reducing or removing the opportunity.
- Keep the doors and windows of your residence locked. Never prop open otherwise locked doors.
- Don't leave purses, backpacks, or books unattended anywhere on campus.
- Keep a list of serial numbers and descriptions of your valuables. This is your only means of retrieving your property if it is recovered after a theft.
- Engrave valuable items with your driver's license number. Campus Security has engravers to loan out.
- Don't keep large sums of cash, jewelry, or other valuables in your room. Any valuables you do bring to campus should leave with you when you go home for vacation.
- Always remove your keys and lock your car. Purchase a parking permit and park in campus-owned parking lots.
- Never leave valuables visible in your car. Lock them in your trunk or take them with you.
Safety In Your Residence Hall
- Never let anyone into the hall unless you positively know they are fellow students or are your personal guests.
- Never prop open outside doors. You'll be placing everyone at risk.
- Keep your door locked when you are inside your room, and make sure it is locked whenever you leave, even if it is only for a few moments. It takes approximately eight seconds for someone to walk into an unattended room and remove something such as a purse or jewelry.
- Never leave handbags, billfolds, jewelry, or other valuables unattended in dorm rooms, showers, or lounges. Put them in a safe place in your room (under lock and key, if possible). Most thieves know to look in the top dresser drawer.
- Try not to leave items of value in your room during vacations and long holidays.
- Try to take showers only when there are other residents on your floor.
- Do not leave messages announcing your absence. This invites theft.
Safety In Apartments
- Lock all doors and windows, even when you are only going to be away for a short while. If at all possible, keep doors and windows closed when home alone, and certainly while asleep.
- Do not open your door for someone you do not know or cannot see. Don't worry about being polite.
- Do not leave your wallet, purse, credit cards, cash, checkbook, or other valuables in the open.
- Never prop open exterior doors. If you see a door propped, close it.
- Don't allow people you do not know to "tailgate" behind you into your building. Every person who is authorized to be in your building should have a key.
- If you see a suspicious person, call Campus Security at (773) 244-5600.
- The most common crimes in apartments are burglaries. Violence can result when residents return home during a burglary. If you come home and believe someone has unlawfully entered your apartment, DO NOT GO INSIDE. Go to a safe place and call 9-1-1 and then Campus Security at (773) 244-5600.
- Immediately report any building security problems (broken locks, burned-out lights) to Physical Plant.
- When your apartment is unoccupied for a long period of time, leave a radio playing to give the impression that somebody is inside.
Safety When Walking
- Avoid walking alone at night. On-campus and within a specified radius around campus you can call Campus Security at (773) 244-5600 and request a safety escort. Always walk with a friend whenever possible. Keep in mind that, on a small campus like North Park, odds are that someone else is leaving within a few minutes and is headed in the same direction. Just ask!
- If you think someone is following you, cross the street, walk faster, or even walk down the middle of the street. Try to go to a lighted area, a store, or a group of people.
- Do not overload yourself with packages, books, or other things.
- Walk near the curb and use the safest, lighted routes to your destination. Avoid alleys, parks, vacant lots, and dark parking areas.
- Wear clothes and shoes that allow you to move quickly.
- Walk with purpose, keep your eyes up, and scan your surroundings. Make eye contact with others.
- Anticipate potentially dangerous situations.
- If your purse is snatched, don't fight. Give it up rather than risk injury. It won't be a great loss if you carry no more cash than is absolutely necessary and keep a list at home of all credit cards, licenses, etc.
Safety When Driving
- When you walk to your vehicle, have your keys ready in your hand so you will not have to stand outside your car looking for them in your handbag or pocket.
- Always check the rear seat and floor before you get into your car.
- Lock the doors as soon as you get into your vehicle and keep them locked.
- If you believe you are being followed by another car, do not lead them to your residence or parking lot. Attempt to locate an open business, or drive until you see a police car and honk your horn and lights to attract attention. Try to obtain the license number of the other vehicle to give to the police.