Personal Safety on Campus

Personal Safety Tips

  • Always be alert and aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not leave doors to buildings or residences propped open.
  • Secure your residence by locking all windows and doors, especially while out or sleeping.
  • If you have a vehicle, it is also important to ensure that this is secure regardless of if it is in a parking lot or your driveway.
  • Make sure that your valuables are kept somewhere secure and not in plain view. Keep your laptop secure and buy a lock. Don’t leave valuables unattended/unlocked in your residence for extended periods of time.
  • Avoid deserted or poorly lit places, especially at night. Walk with a friend, stay with a group
  • Be wary of strangers, on foot or in cars, at night.
  • Displaying confidence can help keep you safe. Use body language to communicate that you are that you are calm, confident, and aware.
  • If someone follows you, go to a place where there are other people. Be prepared to scream “NO!” loudly and run away if threatened. Call UPD or 911 as soon as you can.
  • Respect your intuition. Trust your gut or “sixth sense” – it could protect you from danger. Call the police if you are ever concerned or worried.
  • Take a self-defense course.
  • Always use the buddy system. Consider having a friend with you while riding public transportation, walking, exercising, etc.
  • If you are alone or leave your your friend or group, tell someone where you are going, how you’re getting there, and what time you plan to be home.
  • Only use actual sidewalks, pathways, crosswalks and roads that are cleared and maintained by the college or local municipality.
  • Don’t leave things unattended in public, keep personal belongings in your view at all times.
  • If you have a cell phone, always keep it charged and carry a spare charger.
  • If you don’t have a cell phone, plan on how you would call 911 if needed.

Personal Safety On Campus

  • Call UPD (607-436-3550) or 911 in the event of an emergency on campus. Dialing UPD directly is the quickest way to get help. Dialing 911 will work, but you will first get routed to Otsego County’s emergency dispatch center.
  • Campus blue light emergency phones are a direct link to University Police. View a map of the locations of campus blue light emergency phones.
  • Report any suspicious activity to University Police.
  • If you are uncomfortable walking or travelling somewhere alone on campus you can call for an escort from the University Police/Oneonta State Emergency Squad Safety Escort Program at 607-436-3550.
  • If you are in an isolated area (e.g., working or studying alone in a room or office) lock the doors when you’re alone and tell a friend where you are and when you plan to leave. Or call UPD for an escort when you leave.
  • Don’t let anyone into your residence hall who you do not know or who doesn’t have card access. Guests of residents can use the phone in the vestibule to call inside or can ask their host to come let them in. Make sure you follow all policies for registering any overnight guests.
  • Reach out to your RA or your RD if you have any concerns about safety features in your residence hall (door locks, etc.)
  • Contact UPD if you observe any unusual or suspicious activity anywhere on campus.

Personal Safety Off Campus

  • Walk facing traffic and in well-lit areas. Wear reflective clothing at night to be more visible Vary your route and schedule while traveling around town. Avoid loud music playing in headphones to help stay aware of your surroundings.. Consumption of alcohol will decrease awareness and judgement.
  • If you are carrying valuables or money with you, keep the items enclosed in a pocket or bag and close to your person. Bring emergency cash with you for transportation.
  • If you live off campus:
    • Contact your landlords if you have concerns regarding any locks or security devices in your home.
    • Leave an outside light on for when you return home in the evening hours. Consider installing light timers or motion lights. Have your keys ready to enter your home before you reach your door. Vary your departure and arrival times if possible.
    • If someone unknown or unwanted enters your residence, call the police immediately.
    • Get to know your neighbors and become familiar with the usual people and vehicles in your neighborhood. If you know your neighbors well enough and trust them, ask them to keep an eye on your residence while you are gone. Leave a contact number so they can reach you. Also let your landlord know that you will be out of town.
    • If you leave town for an extended period of time, contact the Post Office to have your deliveries suspended throughout your absence to avoid mail or packages piling up in your mailbox.
    • Consider using lights that operate on timers. This gives the appearance that someone is at home, even if you’re out.
    • Contact the police if you observe any unusual or suspicious activity near your residence. (Oneonta City Police Department- 607-432-1112)

If you are attacked or a victim of a crime:

  • Try to remain calm. Try not to panic or show signs of confusion. Give yourself time to formulate a plan.
  • Property crimes: If a subject is seeking only your purse or wallet, do not resist. Cash, credit cards, cell phones, and other property can be replaced.
  • Physical crime: Try to remain calm and formulate a plan. Use your voice to keep yourself breathing and alert others to the situation if there is anyone nearby. Strike back fast and target areas such as the eyes, throat, and groin of the attacker.
  • Call the police or 911 as soon as you can and identify yourself and your location.
  • Contact the Counseling Center and ask to speak with a counselor. Counselors are trained to assist individuals, specifically college students, who have experienced trauma. (607)436-3368
  • Oneonta Police Department, NYS University Police, Health and Wellness Center, Opportunities for Otsego, local hospitals are all resources for victims of any type of assault.

This preparedness guide for students, faculty, staff and visitors has been provided to you by SUNY Oneonta. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with how SUNY Oneonta plans for emergencies, and to improve your understanding of emergency preparedness and response. This guide is based on presently available information, as well as current federal- and state-recommended protective actions. In every situation, common sense and awareness of personal safety should take precedence over any action described in this guide.

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