Jan. 23, 1997
Vol. 16, No. 9

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    What you can do to avoid crime

    While not every crime can be avoided, you can help the odds by being as alert and prepared as possible when on the street. Here are some tips to help you avoid becoming the victim of a crime:

    _ Whenever possible, use the campus bus or late-night van services.

    _ Carry a whistle with you and blow it if you are approached.

    _ Be aware of your personal "space." Attackers often "test" potential victims by judging how they react -- passively or assertively -- when their area of comfortable space is invaded.

    _ Act alert and confident -- walk briskly with your head up.

    _ Avoid conversations with strangers. If you feel you have to answer, do so simply but firmly, and keep walking.

    _ Be cautious of pedestrians asking you for directions while you are in your car. Keep your doors locked and windows up.

    _ Avoid being maneuvered into alleyways, doorways or cars. Keep moving toward your destination and don't get so involved in listening to someone that you aren't aware of what he or she is doing.

    _ If someone appears to be taking too great an interest in you, seems to be following you, or if you just feel nervous about anyone for any reason, don't tell yourself it's only your imagination -- TAKE ACTION. Change directions, cross the street, use the white emergency phones if possible, and move toward a place of greater safety: people, stores, traffic, lighted areas.

    _ Always keep your eye on someone who is close enough to grab you. If he or she bothers you or tries to prevent you from leaving, make eye contact and say "LEAVE ME ALONE" or "GO AWAY" in a loud, controlled voice. Be firm about what you want, and be as public as you can. Attract attention: If necessary, move into the street, knock things over, or grab onto a bystander and don't let go. Yell "FIRE!"

    _ Don't wait to be grabbed. If someone starts to make a fast move toward you, start yelling. Throw your books or packages into his or her face and RUN.

    _ If someone grabs you and you decide to fight back, you must calculate your chances for survival. Is there someone nearby? Will passersby notice? Will someone hear you scream?

    _ Call University Police from a white emergency phone to report any threatening incidents or unusual behavior.