Safety Tips


"If You See Something, Say Something"

ESCORT SERVICES are available to our faculty, staff, students and visitors.  Contact the Wharton Campus at 979-532-6523 or the Richmond Campus at 281-239-1501 to request an escort.

  • When working late, make sure doors are closed and locked.
  • Tell a friend or colleague where you are.
  • Be aware of  your surroundings at all times.
  • Avoid using stairs in remote areas of the building.
  • Never prop doors open.
  • Keep belongings in an area that can be locked up, such as a desk or cabinet.
  • Do not hold doors open for strangers when the building is closed for the evening.
  • Use the Escort Services provided by Security and Public Safety to get you to your vehicle.
  • Think of the "what if's" and have a plan in mind.
  • Do not be distracted while walking or jogging.
  • Always roll your windows up and lock your car.
  • Don't leave valuables in plain view.  Items left in the open attract thieves.  Store them in the trunk if necessary.
  • Never leave your vehicle running and unattended.
  • Install an anti-theft device that is highly visible, hard to defeat and renders the car inoperable.
  • Don't hide a spare key.
  • Don't leave important papers such as bank statements, credit card statements and other important documents in your car.
  • Photocopy your registration and insurance information and keep it in a safe place other than your vehicle.
  • Most importantly, be crime wise.  Think of what you can do to protect your belongings ahead of time before you become a victim.  Don't become complacent.
  • If you find your vehicle has been burglarized, contact the Security and Public Safety department immediately and try not to touch the vehicle.  The more you touch your vehicle, the more you contaminate the crime scene.

If you are confronted by an armed robber:

  • Do not resist.
  • Look at the robber but do not stare.  This will enable you to provide a description to the police later.
  • Assure the robber you are complying with his or her demands.
  • Move slowly-avoid quick movements.
  • Travel in groups.
  • Report any incident to the Security and Public Safety Department or if off campus to the local law enforcement authorities.

If you live in a residence hall or apartment, remember:

  • Always lock your door when taking a nap, shower, retiring for the evening or leaving your residence.
  • Never leave notes on your door saying you are out.
  • Do not "hide" keys over doors, under mats or in other places.  Burglars know all of the hiding places.
  • Report lost or stolen keys or access cards immediately.  Report broken windows, doors or lights to the dorm supervisor.
  • Never hold or prop open the door to the residence hall.
  • Secure valuables when leaving your residence.
  • When approaching entrances to the building have your key or access card in your hand and ready to use rather than standing outside fumbling through your pockets or purse.
  • Familiarize yourself with evacuation and emergency plans for your building ASAP after your arrival.

Protecting yourself against Sexual Assault:

  • Never leave notes on your door saying you are out.
  • If you are being victimized by a person who is attempting to sexually assault you.  REMEMBER THAT THE GOAL IS SURVIVAL.
  • Stall for time.  Figure out your options.  Each situation is different.  Decide if you will fight, try to talk your way out of the assault, scream or if necessary for your survival, submit.
  • If you fight, hit hard and fast.  Target the eyes and groin.
  • Keep your head.  Stay calm as possible, think rationally and evaluate your resources and options.  It may be more advisable to submit (this does not mean you consent) than resist and risk severe injury or death.  Everyone has different strengths and abilities.  You will have to make this decision based on the circumstances.  But, don't resist if the attacker has a weapon.
  • Keep assessing the situation as it is happening.  If one strategy doesn't work, try another.  Possible options in addition to non-resistance are negotiating, stalling for time, distracting the assailant and fleeing to a safe place, verbal assertiveness, screaming to attract attention and physical resistance.
  • If you think fighting back/struggling may discourage the attack, remember you must hurt the attacker bad enough to create the time you need to escape.  Consider scratching with your fingernails, biting, poking in the eyes, kicking in the knee or groin, hitting on the nose or jabbing the eyes and throat.
  • Weapons such as guns, knives and chemical sprays can easily be turned against you unless you are trained to and are not afraid to use them.  You must be prepare to possibly injure or kill the attacker.
  • If you are determined to carry some type of weapon, a chemical spray (such as pepper spray)n is your best choice.  It's non-lethal if used against you.  Remember, you already have weapons with you: your keys, pens, pencils, etc.  You also have your most important weapon, your brain.
  • Try to dissuade the attacker from continuing.  Tell him you have a sexually transmitted disease, tell him you are menstruating, urinate, vomit or do anything to discourage the attacker.

Protecting yourself against Stalking:

  • If you are a victim of stalking, report this to Campus Security or the local police department, even if you do not know if you will be filing charges.
  • Gather information to help your case, such as taped recordings of threatening phone calls, license plate state and number, description of vehicle, a personal description and detailed listing of any contacts the stalker makes with you.
  • Follow up in court.  Take out an anti-stalking order at your local circuit court, and/or file a civil lawsuit against the stalker for damages resulting from the stalker's behavior.
  • If the stalking continues after the anti-stalking order has been sent, contact the police.  No method of crime prevention is guaranteed to work 100 percent of the time.  However, in taking these steps, you are removing the opportunity from would-be criminals, and you will be less likely to be victimized.  Be smart.  Learn these steps and make them a habit in your life.

Protect yourself from Date Rape Drugs:

  • Never leave your drink unattended.  Date rape drugs can be slipped into any type of drink and they are odorless.
  • Do not accept drinks from strangers.
  • Don't drink beverages that you did not open yourself.
  • Don't share or exchange drinks with anyone.
  • Don't drink from a container that is being passed around.
  • Watch bartenders pour your drink.  If someone offers you a drink from the bar at a club or a party, accompany the person to the bar to order your drink, watch the drink being poured and carry the drink yourself.
  • Don't leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom or making a phone call.
  • Attend parties and bars with friends who will be with you throughout the evening.
  • If you realize that your drink has been left unattended, discard it.
  • Have a designated driver arranged before going out to a party.  The designated driver doesn't consume any alcohol or illegal substances.
  • Don't drink anything that has an unusual taste or appearance (e.g., salty taste, excessive foam, unexplained residue).
  • If you think your drink has been tampered with, seek medical attention right away and request the hospital conduce a toxicology test.

Dealing with Difficult Situations:

  • Take all threats of violence seriously, even casual remarks.  Most violent acts have prior warning signs.
  • Stay as calm as you can.
  • Attitude is important.  Always treat people with respect, regardless of their behavior.
  • If someone is verbally abusive, tell them you will be able to help them better if they calm down and lower their voice.  Set limits:  you do not have to tolerate abuse.
  • Try to gain the cooperation of the individual causing the disturbance.  Show concern and empathy.  For example you might say:  "I understand your frustrations and I am frustrated also.  Unfortunately, the rules are ..."
  • Try to bring in another person who can help.
  • Trust your intuition.  If  you think someone may be potentially violent, try to exit and get help.  For example, you can say, "Let me see if I can find someone who can help".  Call Wharton Campus Security at 979-532-6523; Richmond Campus Security at 281-239-1501 or call 911.
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