Personal Safety Information
When to Call the Police
Don’t hesitate to call 911 or 317-940-BUPD whenever you see or hear something suspicious. If you wish to remain anonymous, you may do so.
When calling the police, be prepared to help them help you. Be ready to identify the nature of the incident, the location, time, persons or property involved, and anything unusual or distinctive about the incident or persons involved.
Call the BUPD immediately about all suspicious activity and do it yourself. Some people fail to call the police simply because they are not aware of which seemingly innocent activities might be suspicious. Others may be hesitant to call for fear of seeming “overreactive” or being embarrassed. Do not take it for granted that someone else has called. Do not worry about “bothering” the police—they are here to help.
- Person(s) loitering about at unusual hours and locations.
- Person(s) running—especially if something of value is being carried. The individual(s) could be fleeing the scene of a crime.
- Person(s) exhibiting unusual mental or physical symptoms. The individual(s) could be under the influence of drugs or otherwise needing medical or psychiatric assistance.
- Person(s) going from room to room trying door knobs. This is possibly “casing” for a room to enter and steal property or commit some other crime such as sexual assault.
- Open or broken doors and windows, which could signify a possible burglary in progress or scene of a completed crime.
- Unusual noises, such as gunshots, screaming and anything suggestive of foul play, danger or illegal activity. When encountering such situations call the police immediately.
- Person(s) sitting in parked vehicles for an extended period of time.
- A vehicle driving slowly in the parking lot at night with its lights out.
- Keep police and emergency numbers near your telephone.
- Lock all doors and windows whenever you leave. Take your keys with you, even if you leave for only a short time.
- Keep all doors and windows locked whenever possible.
- Keep house and car keys on separate key rings. When leaving your car for service or in a parking lot, leave only your ignition key.
- Do not lend your keys to service people or anyone you do not know and trust.
- Do not attach your address or room number to your key chain.
- Always identify visitors by asking for identification before you let them in.
- If a stranger asks to use your telephone, do not open your door. Instead, offer to call for emergency assistance for him/her.
- Install an alarm system. Use an automatic timer and set your lights to come on.
- Use motion lights outside your home.
- Do not prop open residence doors. Meet visitors at the door.
- Do not let in people you do not know. You are responsible for the people you let in.
- Do not tamper with door locking mechanisms. Never use tape, pins, etc., to keep the door from locking shut.
- Think about whether you want to leave notes or signs on your door letting people know you are out of your room for extended periods of time. This can alert potential thieves to your absence.
- Always lock your windows when you leave your room.
- Always lock your door when leaving, even if only going down the hall or to the bathroom.
- Do not allow strangers to enter your room/apartment unless they are properly identified. If a stranger does enter your room/apartment, demand he/she leave. If he/she refuses, create a commotion and leave quickly.
- Do not leave large sums of money, jewelry or valuable items in your room/apartment. Secure valuables elsewhere when on vacation.
- If you are accosted in a hallway or public area of a residence hall and feel that you are in immediate danger, dial 911 and explain the situation to the police. Be prepared to give the location of the incident if you have left the vicinity. If the danger has passed, call the police at 317-940-9396 and explain the situation to them.
- Use well-traveled route.
- Walk purposefully, briskly, and keep moving.
- Walk in the center of the sidewalk—away from buildings, doorways, hedges and parked cars.
- Walk on the side of the street facing oncoming traffic. If a car pulls next to you going the same way, reverse your direction.
- Avoid traveling the same route every day.
- Have the key to your home ready as you approach.
- If you are dropped off by a taxi or automobile, ask the driver to wait until you are safely inside.
- Wait for the bus at well-lighted stops when possible.
- Be alert. If possible, stand with your back against a wall so you cannot be grabbed from behind. Stand away from the curb so you cannot be pulled or pushed into a vehicle.
- Let the driver and other riders know if anyone on the bus harasses you or makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Notice who else gets off at your stop. If you feel you are being followed, try to draw attention to yourself by walking in the middle of the street, yelling, getting to a public area, etc.
- Have your key ready when you approach your vehicle and check to make sure no one is hiding inside.
- Drive on well traveled streets and never pick up hitchhikers.
- Keep your car in gear while it is stopped.
- Keep all doors and windows locked.
- Park in well-lighted, designated parking areas.
- Keep all valuables out of sight in your trunk.
- Keep change in your car for emergency telephones calls.
- If you are deliberately forced to stop your vehicle, lock the doors, roll up the windows and sound the horn for help. If you are followed or harassed by someone in another vehicle, drive to a police department, fire station or open business and seek help. Do not drive into your driveway or park in a deserted area.
- If you are followed as you turn into your driveway at night, stay in your car with the doors locked until you identify the occupants of the other car. Sound your horn to get help.
- If your car breaks down, raise the hood, then stay inside with doors locked. If someone stops to help, do not open your window or door or accept a ride. Ask them to call for help.
- If you see a parked vehicle requiring assistance, do not stop. Go to a telephone and call for aid for them.
- Keep an aerosol tire inflator in your car for emergencies.
- Assess the situation, then take action.
- Move away from the potential threat. You will have to decide how immediate the threat is and how drastic your action should be.
- Join any group of people nearby. Cross the street and increase your pace to move away from imminent danger.
- Go to well-lighted public place and call the police immediately.
- If you believe a threat is imminent and you see people nearby to help you yell, scream, or make a commotion in any way you can.
- Remember, the Emergency Call Boxes and the fire alarms on campus are part of the personal safety system.
- If you see someone else in trouble call the police immediately.
- After you have avoided a potential threat of crime, notify the police.
- Avoid entering an elevator occupied by a stranger. If you are waiting with a stranger for an elevator, stand away from the door to avoid being pushed inside.
- Always stand near the control panel.
- If someone in the elevator with you makes you feel uneasy, get off at the next floor.
- If you are accosted in an elevator, hit the alarm button and as many floor buttons as possible.
Solicitation is not allowed. Report solicitors to the police. If a solicitor approaches you, jot down a description and call 940-BUPD immediately. If you feel that you or others are in danger call 911.
- After discovering a “peeping tom” or bathroom intruder, it is usually best to yell out, but do not try to confront the offender. The offender may panic and react in an unpredictable manner. If the offender runs away, do not follow the offender, but do take note of the direction in which the offender goes.
- Move to a safe location as quickly as possible.
- Try to get a good description of the offender. If the offender speaks to you, remember what the offender said and how the offender said it.
- Report the incident immediately to both the police and on-campus housing personnel. Remember: your safety is your primary concern.
- Think about the information you give out over the telephone and to people you do not know well. For example, if a caller gets a wrong number, do not offer information about yourself, your address or your telephone number. Discuss with your roommates or family how to handle these situations.
- It is a good practice to indicate that you are not alone when speaking to someone on the phone or in person; e.g., “we are busy now.”
- Give thought as to how you are listed in the telephone directory and on your mailbox. Some women use two initials and a last name only.
- The best response to an obscene phone call is to hang up as soon as you realize the nature of the call. Do not slam down the receiver and therefore admit that the call bothers you. Just hang up as you would normally.
- Hang up if the caller does not say anything, on the first obscene word or if the caller does not provide identification to your satisfaction.
- If calls continue, do not hesitate to call BUPD at 317-940-BUPD. Keep a log of when the call was received, exactly what was said by both parties and a description of the voice (young, old, hoarse, accent, etc.)
Although your safety is maximized when you follow security precautions, you still may be the victim of an attack. Your reaction can affect you whether or not you are harmed. You will have to make snap decisions, so you should think now about how you might react under a variety of circumstances. Are you prepared to scream and yell? Will you use physical force? What might you use as a tool of defense? If you are facing an armed criminal, the risk of injury may be minimized by cooperating with his/her demands. Avoid sudden movements and give the criminal what he/she wants. If you think your life is in immediate danger, use any defense you can think of (screaming, kicking, running, etc.). Your objective is to get away, and you are the best judge of what action you should take.