Personal Safety Tips

When You Are In Your House/Apartment

  • Always lock the door behind you when returning home, especially late at night.
  • Make sure balcony doors and windows are locked.
  • Call the police if you see any unusual or suspicious individuals loitering around your residence.

  • Lock all exterior doors and lock deadbolts, even when you are inside your home. Make sure all motion sensor lights are working.

  • Install a security system. Make sure your alarm is on even when you are inside the house.

When You Are In the Street (Walking, Jogging, Biking, etc.)

  • Ask a friend to accompany you.

  • Communicate that you’re calm and confident and know where you’re going by standing tall, walking purposefully and making quick eye contact with people around you.

  • Stay alert. Keep your mind on your surroundings.

  • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, leave.

  • Vary your route and schedule.

  • Wear reflective clothing at night.

  • Carry your purse close to your body and keep a firm grip on it. Carry a wallet in an inside coat or side trouser pocket, not in the rear trouser pocket.

  • Bring emergency change for cab fare or telephone calls.

  • Don’t flaunt expensive jewelry or clothing or “flash” cash.

  • Walk facing traffic so you can see approaching cars.

  • If you suspect you’re being followed by someone on foot, cross the street and head for the nearest well-lighted, populated area. Walk quickly or run to a house or building to call the police.

  • Avoid jogging and biking at night. Choose routes that are safe and well-populated. Tell someone where you will be going. Vary your route and schedule.

  • Wear bright, reflective clothing and carry some sort of identification. Consider not wearing your stereo headphones. Carry a shriek alarm or whistle.

When You Are in the Car

  • Wear your seatbelt!
  • Make sure to keep your car in good running condition.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Drive with all car doors locked.
  • Plan your route in advance, particularly on long or unfamiliar trips.

  • Keep windows rolled up. Keep your vehicle locked when it is parked.

  • Never pick up hitchhikers.

  • If your car breaks down, raise the hood, use flares, or tie a white cloth to the door handle. Stay in the locked car. When someone stops, ask the person to phone for help.

  • If you are being followed while driving, drive to the nearest police or fire station, the ND Main Gate, an open business, or another area where you can safely call the police. Write down the license number and description of the vehicle and secure a description of the driver. If there are no safe areas around, honk your horn repeatedly and turn on your emergency flashers.

If You Should be Attacked/Burglarized

  • Remain calm; don’t panic or show any signs of anger or confusion. Remember, your common sense is your best weapon.

  • If the attacker is only after your purse or other valuables, don’t resist. You don’t want to escalate a property crime into a violent confrontation. Cash, credit cards, cell phones, etc. can be replaced; YOU can’t.

  • If it is clearly not just a property crime, remain calm and try to throw the attacker off-guard. Strike back fast and aim for vital areas like the eyes, throat, or groin to make it hurt.
  • If there are people nearby, scream and draw as much attention to yourself as possible. Screaming “FIRE” will usually attract attention.
  • Call the police immediately. Identify yourself and your location.

  • Contact your local victim assistance agency. The agency can help people deal with the trauma of being attacked and also help you learn about victim compensation laws and how to follow your case’s progress.

  • Contact the University Counseling Center and ask to speak to a counselor. UCC counselors are trained to assist individuals who have experienced trauma and are used to working with college students.

  • If the crime is a sexual assault, there are a number of people and resources at Notre Dame and in the local community who can assist you.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to someone for help.