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Safety Tips

You can do several simple things to enhance your safety, the safety of others and avoid being a crime victim. Check out our safety tips below.

General Safety

  • Be especially aware of your surroundings at times when you may be less alert and more vulnerable to an attack (e.g., during periods of stress) when you are upset or sick, or if you have been drinking.
  • Use discretion and caution when taking shortcuts through isolated areas on campus.
  • If you must be in an isolated area (e.g., working or studying alone in labs or offices) lock the doors and tell a friend or the police department where you are and when you plan to leave.
  • Know the location of campus emergency phones on routes to and from campus destinations.
  • Keep personal belongings in view while eating, meeting or shopping on campus.
  • Whenever you are on campus or off, and see or hear someone who might be in trouble, your options include running, yelling, confronting and calling the Police Department (9-1-1).
  • Take Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) classes with the Police Department or  self-defense classes at UC San Diego Recreation.
  • Use the Community Service Officer safety escort or Triton Rides services available daily from sunset to 8 a.m. 
  • Ride campus shuttles with stops located throughout campus and outlying parking lots.
  • Trust your instincts. If you’re in a situation where you feel threatened or unsafe, leave the area and call 911.

Residence Halls

  • Think of your residence hall as your home. Remember that by taking a share of the responsibility to keep your residence safe, you can make a difference. Contact residential life staff regarding your security/safety concerns.
  • Keep doors locked — even if you're going to be gone only a few minutes.
  • Door-to-door solicitation is prohibited on campus. Please report the presence of solicitors to the police department.
  • Notify the police department or residential life staff of suspicious individuals who appear to be "hanging around."
  • Take security regulations seriously for your own protection.
  • If you leave for an extended vacation, take high-value personal property with you.

At Home

  • Install and use locks on your doors and windows.
  • Always keep doors locked whether you are home or not.
  • Know who is at the door before opening it. Insist on seeing an ID from anyone you don't know.
  • If someone comes to your door and asks to use your phone to call for help, offer to make the call instead.
  • Give your home a "someone is home" look. Put radio and lights on a timer.
  • Maintain good lighting around entrances.
  • Leave spare keys with a friend, not in accessible places.
  • Keep emergency numbers near the phone.

At Work

Whether you’re in an office or a lab there are simple things you can do to stay safe in the workplace.

  • Keep your purse, wallet, keys or other valuables with you at all times or locked in a drawer or closet.
  • Check the identity of any strangers who are in your office or lab. If anyone makes you uncomfortable, inform security or management immediately.
  • Don’t stay late if you’ll be alone in the office or lab. Create a buddy system for walking to parking lots or public transportation after hours, or use the Community Service Officer safety escort service, (858) 534-WALK, available daily from sunset to 1 a.m.
  • If you work in a lab with hazardous or controlled materials, follow security protocols. Laboratory security is everyone’s responsibility.
  • Report any broken or flickering lights, dimly lit corridors, broken windows and doors that don’t lock properly.
  • If you notice signs of potential violence in a fellow employee, report this to the appropriate person. Immediately report any incidents of sexual harassment.
  • Know your company’s emergency plan. If your company does not have such a plan, volunteer to help develop one.
  • If the company does not supply an emergency kit, keep your own emergency supplies (flashlight, walking shoes, water bottle, nonperishable food, etc.) in a desk drawer.

If you work at home or have a home office:

  • In addition to making your home safe and secure, you should hang window treatments that obstruct the view into your office. You don’t want to advertise your expensive office equipment.
  • Review your insurance policy—almost all policies require an extra rider to cover a home office.
  • Mark your equipment with identification numbers, and keep an updated inventory list (with photos, if possible) in a home safe or a bank safe-deposit box. It’s a good idea to keep backups of your work in a secure, separate location as well.
  • Follow the same caution with deliveries and pickups that businesses do. Anyone making a delivery to your home office should be properly identified before you open the door. Do not let the person enter your home. If you own the company, take a hard look at your business—physical layout, employees, hiring practices, operating procedures and special security risks. Assess the company’s vulnerability to all kinds of crime, from burglary to embezzlement. Follow basic crime prevention principles, and work with local law enforcement to protect your business.


  • Have your keys in your hand as you approach your car.
  • Lock your doors when driving and after parking.
  • Check the backseat and floor before entering your car.
  • Conceal valuables, under the seat or in the glove compartment or trunk.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • If you have car trouble, signal for help by raising the hood or tying a handkerchief to the door handle. Remain in your car with doors locked until identifiable help arrives. Should another motorist offer to help, roll down the window slightly and ask them to call the police or an auto club.
  • Keep an emergency kit containing a flashlight, flares, distress signs and other essentials in your car.
  • To protect your car, use a lock bar that prohibits steering wheel use.
  • Consider installing an alarm system, ignition bypass or fuel shut-off switch in your car.

Traffic Stop

Whenever you see red lights in your rearview mirror, pull your car to the right curbline and stop. If the emergency vehicle passes by, you can pull back into traffic, when it's safe to do so.

If the emergency vehicle pulls in behind you:

  • Turn off your car engine, radio and headlights.
  • Roll down your window.
  • At night, turn on your vehicle's interior light.
  • Keep your hands in sight on top of the steering wheel.
  • Never make sudden moves to the glove compartment, under your seat or between the seats because criminals often keep weapons in these locations.
  • Stay in your vehicle and remain calm. It may take a few minutes for the police officer to approach your car cautiously.
  • Respond calmly to the police officer.
    • The police officer will step up to your open window.
    • Be prepared to show the police officer your driver's license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
    • After the officer explains why you were stopped, you can respond with your explanation.
  • Accept the warning or citation, if issued.
    • When you sign the citation, you're not admitting guilt. You're promising to appear in court, although you may be able to handle your ticket by mail.
    • When the officer has finished talking with you, start your vehicle and move back into traffic, when it's safe to do so.
  • If you receive a citation, read the back for instructions on how to respond.

On the Phone

  • Be wary of phone surveys.
  • List only your first initial and last name in the phone directory. You can also learn how to remove personal information from the campus directory
  • If you receive a threatening or obscene phone call, hang up. Contact the Police Department and make a report.
  • Use your voice mail to screen your calls. Your outgoing message should not say that you’re away from home.

In the Mail

Characteristics of suspicious envelopes and packages include:

  • Marked "Personal" or "Private," especially when delivered to a work address
  • Misspelled words or inaccurate addressee's name or title
  • Addressed to someone’s title only
  • Distorted handwriting, homemade labels or cut-and-paste lettering on the package address
  • Protruding wires, aluminum foil, oil stains or peculiar odor
  • Fictitious or unfamiliar return address
  • Cancellation or postmark showing a different location from the return address
  • Excessive postage or weight
  • Rigid, irregular shape, soft spots or bulges
  • Lopsided or uneven envelope
  • Unprofessional wrapping with several types of tape or string
  • Warnings such as "Fragile," "Handle with Care" or "Rush"
  • Sloshing or ticking sound

If you receive a suspicious-looking envelope or package:

  1. Do not open it.
  2. Call campus Police immediately at (858) 534-4357. Don’t worry about potential embarrassment. Your concern could save lives.
  3. Isolate the envelope or package. Do not put it in water or a confined space, such as a drawer or filing cabinet.
  4. If possible, open nearby windows to help vent potentially explosive gases.
  5. Evacuate the immediate area.

In an Elevator

  • Check the inside of an elevator before entering. Wait for the next elevator if you are unsure of the people inside.
  • When riding an elevator, stand by the control board. If you feel in danger, press all the buttons and get off the elevator as soon as possible.
  • Most campus elevators are equipped with emergency phones.


  • If someone tries to snatch your purse, let it go. Most injuries from robberies occur when people resist during purse snatches.
  • If you are attacked, whether you resist and how you resist will depend on your personal resources and your personal values. Consider what you would do in various situations that could arise. The more you have thought ahead, the more likely you will be to act in the way you planned.
  • In considering your reactions to different situations, keep these three basic rules in mind:
    1. Trust your instincts.
    2. Don't be afraid to be impolite or make a scene; this is especially important if someone you know threatens or attacks you.
    3. Try to remain calm and use your imagination and good judgment; give yourself time to think.
  • Consider taking Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) classes with the Police Department or  self-defense classes at UC San Diego Recreation.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is one of the nation's fastest growing crimes. Once someone steals your identity, it's difficult to clear your credit record, and often your criminal history.

Learn more at