Plan, prevent and act: Demonstrate personal security awareness and plan your response to potentially dangerous situations.
Knowing how to respond to a potentially dangerous situation is just as important as knowing how to avoid one. Often, criminals catch victims off guard, allowing very little time to react. Thinking ahead about your response to such a situation and having a planned and practiced response will allow you to remain calm and focused.
In addition to offering personal security awareness training, self-defense and an active shooter presentation, the Marquette University Police Department offers the following tips to help students, faculty and staff stay alert, avoid becoming targets and ensure personal items remain safe and uncompromised.
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- Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
- Don't assume vehicles will stop. Make eye contact with drivers, don't just look at the vehicle.
- Don't rely solely on pedestrian signals. Look before you cross the road.
- Cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections.
- Obey traffic signals such as WALK/DON’T WALK signs.
- Look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
- Watch for turning vehicles. Make sure the driver sees you and will stop for you.
- Look across ALL lanes you must cross and visually clear each lane before proceeding. Even if one motorist stops, do not assume drivers in other lanes can see you and will stop for you.
- Don’t wear headphones or talk on a cell phone while crossing.
How to act in an uncomfortable situation
When in an uncomfortable situation, always trust your instincts. If necessary, defend yourself to the best of your ability. When presented with an avenue of escape, run away to a safe place where people are present to assist you. Near campus, safe places include residence halls, restaurants, businesses and the MUPD office, which is open 24 hours a day.
Using nonverbal self-defense
- In an uncomfortable situation, be assertive.
- Maintain eye contact with those who may attempt to confront you, and do not let yourself get distracted.
- Maintain a confident physical demeanor.
- Maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from strangers.
Using verbal self-defense
- Do not be afraid to tell someone to get out of your personal space.
- If necessary, yell to attract the attention of those nearby.
- Use direct commands, such as “Get back!” or “Let me go!”
Carry a personal safety device
- Carry a safety whistle or other noise-making device, and use it when you feel threatened. Noise attracts the attention of those nearby. Although yelling provides the most comprehensive method of attracting attention, people often lack the ability to verbalize in crisis situations. Anyone can blow a whistle.
- Become familiar with the locations of 450 Blue Light Phones on campus and within the off-campus neighborhood. The phones are distinguishable by their bright blue lights. Blue Light Phones provide a 24-hour-a-day direct link to the Command Information Center in MUPD.
Avoid becoming an easy target
People unknowingly engage in activities every day that make them more vulnerable to crime. Make yourself less of a potential target by incorporating some simple actions:
- Travel on well-lit, busy streets and avoid walking through alleys.
- Always trust your intuition and pay attention to warning signs, such as people watching you or quickly approaching.
- Maintain a complete awareness of your surroundings. Do not become distracted by using your phone or listening to music while walking.
- Do not walk alone, especially at night. Remember to use the Friend Walk feature in the EagleEye app to temporarily share your location with a friend while you’re walking so they can track you and ensure you get to your destination as intended.
- Only take what you absolutely need with you when going out. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or multiple credit cards. Use backpacks to conceal laptop computers.
- Remain confident, alert and in control. Avoid going out or walking home while intoxicated.
- Match the license plate number of the car with the app. Always double check the license plate and make and model of the car to make sure they match the information the app provides.
- Ask the driver, “Who are you waiting for?” This way the driver must give you a name. If the information isn’t correct, DON’T get in the car.
- Look at the photo of the driver on the app. Match the photo of the driver on the app with the person driving. If the photo doesn’t match, DON’T get in the car.
- Wait for your ride indoors.Wait until the app shows that the driver has arrived.
- Ride in the back seat. This gives you and the driver personal space.
- Don’t reveal personal details. Do not share your phone number or other contact information with a driver. If a rider and driver need to contact each other for some reason, the app automatically makes both phone numbers anonymous to protect everyone’s privacy.
- Share trip details with a friend. Riders can share their trip details by tapping “Share status” in the app. This shares a driver’s name, photo, license plate and location.
- Rate your driver. This allows the service to remove potentially dangerous drivers.
Cell phone theft prevention tips
- Set up a password lock. This is the easiest security feature that you can use. It prevents others from accessing personal, business and financial information stored on your device.
- Enable remote data wiping. Most major brands offer options that allow you to remotely erase data from your device in case it is lost or stolen. Check your user’s guides or contact your service provider for specific instructions for your device.
- Update and upgrade. Upgrading and downloading new operating systems can take time, but in addition to more and better applications, many upgrades contain security updates for your protection. When prompted by your device to download an upgrade, follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.
- Be vigilant. When in public, do not allow your mobile devices to completely distract you from your surroundings. Many of us carry more than one device, and thieves looking to steal one of them will often observe your actions, waiting for you to drop your guard or walk away from your electronic items.
- Enable or install a device locating application. No matter how security conscious you are, determined and persistent thieves can still be successful at stealing your property. Fortunately, most mobile devices have the capability to “broadcast” their locations if lost or stolen. Using global positioning satellites and wireless networks, many free or moderately priced applications can help you and law enforcement locate your phones, tablets and computers.
If your device is already equipped with this capability, you must ensure that it is enabled. It is important to note that these services cannot be activated after your device has been lost or stolen. Please record your usernames, passwords, device brand, model and names of tracking applications in a secure place — not only on your device. This will help you and law enforcement locate your phone, tablet or computer.
Follow these guidelines to protect your privacy, avoid scams and secure your personal data and contents.
- Lock down your login. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media. Strengthen online accounts and use strong authentication tools – like biometrics, security keys or a unique, one-time code through an app on your mobile device – whenever offered.
- Keep a clean machine. Keep all software on internet-connected devices – including personal computers, smartphones and tablets – current to reduce risk of infection from ransomware and malware.
- When in doubt, throw it out. Links in email, tweets, posts and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to compromise your information. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or, if appropriate, mark it as junk.
- Back it up. Protect your valuable work, music, photos and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely. If you have a copy of your data and your device falls victim to ransomware or other cyber threats, you will be able to restore the data from a backup.
- Own your online presence. Set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It is OK to limit how and with whom you share information.
- Share with care. Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it and how it might affect you or others.
- Personal information is like money. Value it. Protect it. Information about you, such as purchase history or location, has value – just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it is collected by apps, websites and all connected devices.
Railroad safety tips for pedestrians
- Stay alert. It is easy to get distracted, especially by phones, music and conversation.
- Stop, look both ways and listen.
- Follow all signs and instructions.
- Cross tracks only at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings.
- Cross quickly and never stop on the tracks.
- Cross at a 90-degree angle if crossing with a bike, stroller or wheelchair, as your wheels can become stuck.
Bicycle theft prevention tips
Cable locks offer no real protection. Secure your bicycle with a U-shaped lock. When choosing a location to secure your bicycle, ensure that it is well-lit and visible. For maximum security, secure your frame and wheels to an immovable object. Register your bike on Bike Index, a free nonprofit online bike registry. Contact MUPD at (414) 288-6800 for more tips and information about registering your bicycle with the university and city.
Car theft prevention tips
To prevent a vehicle theft, be sure to:
- Always lock vehicle doors when you are in the car and away from it.
- Never leave personal identification, keys, wallets, checkbooks or other valuables in view.
- Secure valuables and engrave expensive items with identifying information.
- Always lock doors and windows.
- Consult with MUPD Crime Prevention about effective theft prevention devices.
- Report any suspicious activity to MUPD.
MUPD has noted an increase in thefts of Hyundai and Kia models, most often Hyundai Sonatas and Elantras, as well as Kia Souls and Sportages. The vehicle years are 2012-20. Students, faculty and staff with these cars can take advantage of the free steering wheel locks our department offers, given the increase in auto thefts for those vehicles.
- Use machines in busy areas that are well-lit. For your safety, ATMs are located in the Alumni Memorial Union and at the MUPD office in the 16th Street Parking Structure.
- Pay attention to those behind you and around you before making a transaction.
- Be private about your personal identification number (PIN).
- Never write your PIN on your card.
- Remove your card from the machine when your transaction is complete.
- Pressing 911 or any other series of numbers into the machine does NOT alert authorities to an emergency.
Protecting yourself during a robbery
- If someone demands your property, give it to him or her. Do not resist. Maintaining your personal safety is more important than your backpack or cell phone.
- If someone claims to have a weapon, believe him or her and surrender your property.
- Throw your property in one direction and run away in the opposite direction to a safe place.
- While running, attract attention by yelling.
- If your assailant targets you instead of your property, remain calm and breathe. Think of your planned response, defend yourself and escape!