With the semester underway, Augusta University Police Department offers safety tips for everyone on campus.
The first line of defense starts with the individual. If you see something suspicious, say something; call the AUPD and they will investigate. Paying attention to your surroundings is the best way to help prevent something bad from happening to you or to your belongings.
“Sometimes we see cases where somebody is out there checking handles of cars and nobody reports it. See something, say something is the No. 1 thing. We want people to report suspicious circumstances to us,” said Capt. Harry Smith.
There are a number of things individuals do to keep their vehicles and belongings safe:
- Not only lock your door, but also check and make sure it is locked. Sometimes the actuator on a key fob will go out and it may beep, but the doors don’t all lock.
- Don’t leave anything valuable in your car.
- There are car lock boxes that can fit inside a glove compartment or console that can add a layer of protection if you must leave something valuable inside your locked car.
- Try to stay off your cell phone until you are safely in your car. Remain aware of your surroundings.
- Park in a well-lit area of a parking lot if possible.
- Pay attention to your surroundings to make sure nobody is hanging around your vehicle who could cause a threat.
Also, when going to your car, police recommend having your keys ready before you get there. Once inside, lock your doors before doing anything else.
If someone has breached your car and is inside, police recommend not getting in or confronting the person, but keep walking and then call for assistance.
Augusta University Police Department has a number of resources available to students, faculty and staff. Among them is the RAVE Guardian app. It has many one-touch options to get in contact with the police. The department also offers escorts if someone feels unsafe walking to and from a location on campus.
When it comes to students’ residences, there are other ways people can protect themselves. One important tip is not allowing others into an apartment building or residence hall. Most apartment complexes and AU residence halls have doors that are key activated, so be aware of who may be around you waiting for someone to let them in.
“When you go into Oak or Elm or your apartment complex, don’t let others piggy-back through a secure doorway unless you recognize them. A lot of times, you assume they belong and you don’t want to say something, but you want to be thinking about it, especially if it is a dorm,” Smith said.
For those living off campus in an apartment or hotel, if you are meeting up with someone for the first time, AUPD recommends you meet them in a common area or in a group. Don’t let them into your apartment until you know the person and are comfortable with them in your residence.
Smith added another popular teaching method is the power of “hello.” If someone is making you feel uneasy, just say hello to them. This at least makes them aware of the fact you’ve just recognized them and it may deter them from doing anything. A full conversation is not needed, but a simple “hello” or “how are you doing today?” may do the trick.
Even when just walking around, try to use the buddy system and have someone with you. There is always safety in numbers.
When you are inside a building, be aware of your personal belongings and don’t leave them unattended. Even when using a vending machine or visiting a restroom, keep an eye on property. It only takes second for someone to walk away with your backpack, computer or other items.
Safety on and around campus starts with the individuals, according to AUPD. Being aware of your surroundings at all times will make a big difference in your safety and the safety of your property.