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On and Off Campus Safety

Staying on Campus

What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

Your involvement is essential to the prevention of crime on campus. Disinterest or complacency are the prime contributors to the success of crime. The police cannot be everywhere at once. We are dependent on you to recognize and report incidents that are suspicious or criminal in nature.

Most campus buildings and facilities are accessible to members of the campus community, guests, and visitors during normal hours of business (Monday through Friday) and for limited designated hours on Saturday, Sunday and holidays. Facilities are maintained and their security monitored in the interest of the campus.

Residence Halls and Private Residences

Keep the door(s) to your residence and windows that are accessible from the outside locked at all times. Report defective locks on windows and doors immediately to the Capital Planning and Maintenance website. Students can also call the Work Request Line at extension 3115.

  • Never sleep in an unlocked room or house.
  • Do not put your name and/or address on key rings.
  • Do not keep your residence and vehicle keys on the same ring.
  • If you lose the keys to your residence, have the lock(s) changed. On-campus residents should notify the Police immediately.
  • Require visitors to identify themselves before you open your door. Off-campus residents should require official identification from all repair service personnel.
  • Do not let strangers use your phone.
  • If you receive obscene or harassing telephone calls, or several calls with no one on the other end, immediately notify the Fitchburg State University Police.
  • If you find your room has been entered, do not go inside. Go to a neighbor and call the Fitchburg State University Police (for university housing) or the Fitchburg Police Department (for a private residence). If you are already inside, do not disturb the scene or touch anything.

Walking alone

  • If possible, avoid walking alone or walking near vacant lots, alleys, construction sites, and wooded areas.
  • Use well-lit and busy sidewalks.
  • Learn the location of emergency phones on campus.
  • Carry a cell phone, whistle, or a personal alarm to alert people that you need help.
  • When walking to your car, carry your keys ready in hand.
  • When being dropped off at your residence by a taxi, friend, or family, ask the driver to wait until you get inside.
  • When getting out of a car at a mall, rest stop, etc., take a look around to make sure that you are not being followed.
  • Call the Fitchburg State University Police Department for a student security escort to your vehicle or building.

Athletic Facilities

  • Avoid using athletic facilities alone, especially after dark or during off hours.
  • Use the “buddy system.” Work out with a friend and make arrangements to go to and from the gym together.
  • Confine your running and jogging to the daylight hours and to open, well-traveled areas.
  • Avoid showering alone in the locker room. Shower at your residence.
  • Avoid bringing cash, wallets, watches, or other valuables to the athletic facilities.
  • Avoid storing your valuable sports equipment in your locker.
  • Keep your locker locked whenever unattended.
  • Report suspicious persons and incidents of theft to the Fitchburg State University Police Department.

Elevators

  • If while waiting for an elevator you find yourself alone with a stranger, let them take the elevator and wait for its return.
  • If you are on an elevator with someone who makes you feel uneasy, get off at the next floor.
  • Always stand near the control panel, where you have access to the alarm and floor buttons.

Driving

  • Do not pick up hitchhikers.
  • Whenever possible, limit traveling to well-lit and well-traveled roads.
  • Keep your windows closed and doors locked.
  • When stopped at traffic lights or stop signs, keep your vehicle in gear. If threatened, sound your horn and drive away as soon as possible.
  • If your vehicle breaks down, signal for assistance by raising your hood. Stay inside your vehicle with your windows and doors locked. If a roadside Samaritan stops, roll down your window just enough to talk and ask that they call the police if you were unable to do so. If the person appears to be a threat, sound the horn and flash your lights.
  • If you think you are being followed, keep out of desolate areas. Look for a place where there are people, then stop and let the vehicle pass you.
  • If the vehicle continues to follow, drive to the nearest location where you can get assistance (gas station, shopping center, police or fire station, etc.)
  • If you are followed into your driveway or parking lot, stay locked inside of your vehicle until you can identify the occupants of the vehicle. If threatened, sound your horn to draw attention.
  • When parking at night, choose a well-lit area. Before getting out of your vehicle, check for people loitering.
  • Always remove your ignition keys. Lock the vehicle whenever it is unattended.
  • Before entering your vehicle, always check the interior, paying particular attention to the floor and rear seat.

Protecting Personal and University Property

Lock your door every time you leave your room or office. Engrave expensive equipment and valuables. The Fitchburg State University Police Department has an engraving program (Operation Identification). Don’t store your purse or wallet in an unlocked desk drawer. Don’t leave your belongings (books, gym bags, backpacks, laptops, cell phones, coats, etc.) unattended in the library, cafeteria, hallways, locker rooms, or classrooms.

If You Are Working Late

Notify the Fitchburg State University Police Department that you are in your office and indicate when you expect to leave. Keep your office door locked. Lock all doors behind you when entering and exiting at night. These prevention measures are advised for your protection. Your location on campus is important for officers to know in case of a sudden illness or fire. For these reasons, the Fitchburg State University Police Department must know when you are in campus buildings after hours.

Residence Halls and Private Residences

  • Avoid bringing large amounts of cash or valuables to campus or your residence.
  • Keep items of value out of sight.
  • Never lend your key(s) to your residence.
  • Do not hide keys under mats, above doors, in mailboxes, or anywhere else they can be easily found. If you live in a dorm, take your room key to the shower with you. Do not leave it with your clothing.
  • When leaving for vacation, store valuables out of sight.
  • Check with your family insurance agent to determine if your property is covered under your parents’ homeowner’s insurance. If not, consider purchasing your own.
  • When having duplicate keys made, have them made in your presence.

When Leaving your Residence Unattended

  • Give the appearance of occupancy. When gone after dark, leave a light or radio/television on.
  • Do not leave notes advertising your absence (gone to get the mail, I’m over at the neighbors, be right back, etc.).
  • Make sure all of your windows and doors are locked.
  • Leave shades and blinds partly open.
  • Close the garage door.
  • Stop all deliveries (mail, newspapers, etc.).
  • Inform your neighbors you are leaving and ask them to keep an eye on your residence.
  • Notify the police department and request a residential patrol or checks.
  • If leaving for a summer or winter vacation, have someone cut your lawn or shovel your driveway.

Offices and Laboratories

  • Keep all offices and laboratories locked when not in use.
  • Make sure that all locks are in working order.
  • Keep desks, cabinets, etc., locked when not in use.
  • Avoid bringing valuable personal property with you.
  • Petty cash should be kept at a minimum.
  • Women should keep their pocketbooks locked up.
  • Men should not hang up coats or jackets with wallets or other valuable items in the pockets.
  • Before leaving your office or laboratory, make sure there is no one left in the area and then secure the room.
  • Watch out for your fellow co-workers' areas. If you notice a door or window was left unsecured, please secure it. If you are unable to do so, notify the Fitchburg State University Police, who will dispatch an officer to the area.
  • Report any suspicious persons or activity to the Fitchburg State University Police immediately.

Motor Vehicles

  • Report all suspicious persons or vehicles seen around the parking areas to the Fitchburg State University Police Department.
  • Keep your vehicle locked and the windows rolled up tightly.
  • Never leave your vehicle running when unattended.
  • When parking, choose a well-lit, heavily traveled area.
  • Packages, luggage, and other valuables should be locked in the trunk.
  • Electronic accessories should be marked with identifiable numbers, registered under Operation Identification, and placed in a secure area, not clearly visible to the public.

Bicycles

  • Always lock your bicycle around the frame and through both wheels to an object such as a telephone pole, sign, lamp post, bicycle rack, etc.
  • If you must leave your bicycle outside, choose a well-lit, heavily traveled location.
  • Find out if your bicycle is covered under your parents’ insurance policy. If not, consider purchasing insurance on your own.
  • Invest in a good bicycle lock.

Fire Safety

Each year college and university students, on- and off-campus, experience hundreds of fire-related emergencies nationwide. There are several specific causes for fires on college campuses, including cooking, intentionally set fires, and open flame. Overall, most college-related fires are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. For most students, the last fire safety training they received was in grade school. With new independence comes new responsibilities. It is important that both off-campus and on-campus students understand fire risks and know the preventative measures that could save their lives. To learn more, check out the Campus Fire Safety video.

Operation Identification Program

To aid in the recovery of property should it be lost to crime, we suggest keeping records of all personal items of value. Record the serial numbers, model numbers, brand names and descriptions of property in a safe place or leave at home while at school. Engravers and forms are available from the Fitchburg State University Campus Police Department to mark personal property as a deterrent to theft.

ICE (In Case of Emergency) Cell Phone Program

The recommendation is that you store the word "ICE" in your mobile phone address book with the number of the person you would want to be contacted "In Case of Emergency." In an emergency situation, ambulance and hospital staff will then be able to quickly find out who your next of kin are and be able to contact them. It really could save your life, or put a loved one's mind at rest. For more than one contact name, use ICE1, ICE2, ICE3, etc.

Call University Police at 978-665-3111 for an escort or take advantage of the campus shuttle service.