Suspicious people have recently approached students from their vehicles on campus or within close proximity for various reasons. Campus Police would like to ensure the safety of all by providing some simple safety tips:
- Simply being aware of one’s surroundings can reduce or eliminate the potential of becoming a victim of a crime; remember to always be vigilant of your surroundings. If off campus, do not wait until returning to report or call. Time is important. If on campus, use any campus phone, Blue Safety phones, or your cell phone to contact Campus Police at 941-487-4210 or 911.
- If a vehicle is acting suspiciously, call immediately and proceed to either a well-lit or populated area. If you see a suspicious person or vehicle, and it’s safe to do so, try to remember what the person looks like/vehicle description. Example: Persons height, weight, complexion, what they are wearing; a vehicle’s color, make, model, license plate number and direction of travel.
- Do not accept rides from strangers.
- Do not travel alone at night. Call for an escort to accompany you. Stay on well-lit paths and avoid overgrown shrubbery.
- If you think you are being followed, change your course of travel. Cross the road or approach a home that looks occupied.
- Walk with confidence; keep your head up and pay attention to what is happening around you. Do not look down at your cellular phone to check messages or text. Perpetrators are looking for people who are easy targets and not paying attention.
- Park in well-lit areas. Look around before exiting. Always lock your vehicle and store all items of value out of plain sight.
- Never leave your vehicle engine running while you run into a store or home, for example, even for a moment.
- Take a photograph of your vehicle’s license plate and vehicle identification number (VIN) and store them on your phone in case you need to report your vehicle stolen.
- Never hesitate to call the police when witnessing suspicious behavior. Your call just may prevent someone from being a victim of a crime.
Remember “If you see something, say something!”