How to Increase Safety

While you can never completely protect yourself from danger, there are some things you can do to help reduce your risk of being assaulted. Below is a list of ways to increase your safety at home, when walking, in your vehicle, or at group events. This information is in NO MEANS meant to blame victims. Perpetrators are responsible for their own actions. However, these "tips" may assist in reducing your risk of being injured. If you need further information you can contact the Valdosta State University Police Department at (229) 333-7816 or visit their website.

At Home/ Residence Hall/ Apartment

  • Lock your door, even when you intend to return home shortly or even if you are just going down the hall.
  • Lock or secure doors and windows.
  • Keep emergency numbers by your phone.
  • Do not leave messages on your door or online (i.e. facebook, myspace) indicating that you are away and when you will return.
  • Do not prop open outer doors.
  • Do not put your address on your key ring.
  • Know your neighbors.
  • Do not leave keys in hiding places. Carry your keys or make sure that anyone who truly needs them has their own copy.
  • Call 259-5555 to report suspicious persons or activity in or around your neighborhood. Off campus, call 911.
  • Keep ATM/debit cards in a safe place, keep your PIN number secret.
  • 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 suspect your home has been broken into, don't go into your home. Go to a neighbor and call the police.
  • Don't hide spare keys outdoors. They are too easy to find.

When Walking

  • Utilize the VSUPD Escort Program on campus.
  • Keep to well lit, commonly traveled routes.
  • Know the location of the emergency phones.
  • If you feel threatened, locate an emergency phone, or enter a building, store, or place of business.
  • If you go out after dark, go with a friend.
  • Cross the street if you see anything on your side that makes you nervous.
  • If you are getting dropped off, ask the driver to wait until you are safely inside before leaving.
  • Be observant and do not utilize things that are distracting, such as, ipods, headphones, etc.

Protect Your Vehicle, Bicycle and Moped

  • Always lock your vehicle and make sure windows are rolled up most of the way.
  • Do not leave tempting valuables or property visible inside the car.
  • Don't pick up hitchhikers.
  • If you are being followed, don't go home. Drive to the nearest police station or safe place with people visibly present.
  • Check the back seat and floors before you get into your vehicle to be sure no one is hiding.
  • Keep car keys in hand when approaching your vehicles so that you may enter it with ease.
  • Lock bikes to bike racks with hardened-alloy locks and chains or u-shaped locks.
  • Lock mopeds as you would bikes.

At Group Events/Parties

  • Stay with friends and watch out for each other. Recognize when someone is acting out of the norm; behaving unusually.
  • Call 911 if someone passes out and is difficult to wake up, seems to be having difficulty breathing, is behaving in an uncharacteristic way, or gets sick after drinking a beverage.
  • Do not accept open drinks from ANYONE, especially from strangers. Only drink beverages that you open yourself.
  • Never leave with someone you just met, and don't let a friend leave with someone she/he just met.
  • Never leave your drink unattended. If you have to leave your drink unattended, throw it out and get another one.
  • Don't share drinks.
  • Drink responsibly.
  • Know that it is a CRIME to have sexual contact with someone who is intoxicated and cannot provide consent.

Sources

VSU University Police Website

UGA Office For Violence Prevention

Georgia Southern University Sexual Assault Response Team