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Crime prevention and safety tips

Often people contribute to crimes of opportunity by needlessly placing themselves or their property at risk. Prevention efforts can be effective in reducing the opportunities for criminal activity. The following is a list of safety tips and general crime prevention information:


  • Be aware of surroundings. Avoid walking around while using electronic devices (e.g. cell phone, I-Pod, etc.).  Electronic devices are a distraction from nearby activity.
  • Always walk with a friend.  When walking around campus, it is a safe practice to in the company of another friend or acquaintance.  Do not focus on electronic devices when walking.
  • Understand the campus geography!  Explore the campus in daylight to become aware of surroundings.   This will provide orientation when walking at night.
  • When crossing campus after sundown, walk in areas well lighted.
  • Keep a phone in hand and have Campus Safety or 911 on "speed dial" for unexpected emergency situations. Wear a backpack for books or carry them in a bag that can be dropped or thrown if necessary.
  • If walking to a vehicle, the keys should be kept in hand and ready to use when entering the parking lot or street.
  • When suspicious of being followed, walk or run to an occupied residence or facility, or to an area where people are present. Be prepared to call Campus Safety, emergency services or to yell or scream if necessary
  • If observing something that looks suspicious, contact Campus Safety and explain the situation. If unsure it is suspicious, but it doesn't "feel right," then it is probably suspicious.  Trust instincts.

Residence hall rooms

  • Lock the room doors when leaving.  Never loan keys to others.
  • Use caution when admitting strangers.
  • Contact Residential Life staff and/or Campus Safety if anything is observed that appears "suspicious."
  • Do not leave valuables unsecured in rooms.  Lock up valuable items in a secure cabinet, desk or other areas within the room.


  • Secure all valuables.  Keep personal valuables locked in your desk and/or work area.  Lock office doors (if applicable) when leaving a work space for only a few minutes.  It only takes a second for someone to enter a work area and "swipe" valuable items.
  • Remind yourself frequently of important locations.  For example; the location of fire extinguishers, emergency exits, severe weather shelter areas, etc.
  • Be prepared to contact Campus Safety in the event a customer becomes angry or violent.  Ensure your desk phone or cell phone is programmed with the Campus Safety number on "speed dial."  Contact 911 directly if the event involves danger to your life or that of another person.

General safety

  • Always keep a list of important phone numbers with you in case you are in an accident and emergency personnel need to contact someone.  Examples might be the Campus Safety number, spouse's work number, doctor's office number, child's school number, etc. 
  • If you suffer from a medical problem that causes medical issues on a frequent basis, it is important you carry or wear an item that identifies that medical problem. For example; if you suffer from diabetes wear a bracelet or medallion that explains your problem and provides emergency information.
  • When off campus, try to stay with a group of people, preferably friends or acquaintances.  Avoid "risky areas" such as dark places or deserted areas and have your phone ready in case you need to quickly call for assistance.  Have emergency numbers set up on "speed dial."
  • Never take drinks from other people and don't leave your drink unattended. Be alert for "date rape drugs." Those drugs can cause drowsiness, loss of coordination, dizziness and memory loss. Have a friend with you and watch out for each other. Follow your instincts!

Your role

A high percentage of campus crimes are incidents of opportunity.  People often contribute to situational crimes by needlessly placing themselves or their property at risk. Crime will occur an opportunity is presented, but prevention efforts can be effective in reducing these opportunities. All campus community members play an essential role in crime prevention efforts.   Be cautious, careful, and alert to personal safety.  Protect possessions and college property.

Campus facility access

Columbia College buildings are commonly open only when classes are in session or during regular business hours. Residence halls are always locked and residents must have their card access key to enter. Guests may enter only when accompanied by a resident.

Employees who have a key to a campus building and desire to work after hours are encouraged to contact Campus Safety and advise the officers of his or her presence.  Individuals who do not have a key and need access must have authorization from the department head or director as well as their student or employee ID card.

An authorized individual entering or leaving a locked building may not allow any unauthorized individual to enter the building.  Authorized personnel may enter facilities with a guest as long as the guest is with the authorized person at all times.  The authorized individual assumes full responsibility for the guest.  An individual entering or leaving a secured building shall be responsible for checking the door to ensure the door is secured.

The theft or loss of assigned keys should be reported immediately to the person who issued the keys. Keys may not be loaned to anyone.  The person to whom the keys are assigned is solely responsible for those keys.


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