What You Can Do to Stay Safe
While USC offers a broad array of services and resources to help ensure the safety of the university community, we also encourage every individual to take responsibility for his or her own safety.
In his annual new-student orientation talk, President Nikias encourages parents to stress the following four safety rules with their sons and daughters:
- Never walk alone or in small groups at night off campus;
- Always use the Campus Cruisers, or a campus bus or cab;
- Never invite strangers into your residence hall or apartment;
- Don't be drunk, especially in a situation where you may be vulnerable.
In addition, we offer the following tips for staying safe and preventing crime both on and off campus.
Personal Safety Tips
- Program your phone with the applicable Department of Public Safety phone number - (213) 740-4321 for the University Park campus; (323) 442-1000 for the Health Sciences campus.
- Be aware of what is going on around you. Walk assertively. You are less likely to become a target if you look like you know where you are going and what is happening around you.
- When you go jogging, use the track or pick a route on campus where there is high visibility.
- Trust your instincts. If something feels wrong with a person, building or situation, something probably is wrong. Change your plans, move away from the person, get out of the area - whatever is necessary for you to feel comfortable.
- If you think you are being followed, stay in well-lighted areas and go into a store or restaurant. If these are not available, join a group of people and ask to walk with them until it is safe.
- Know the locations of the emergency blue-light phones. (PDF map showing the locations of University Park campus emergency phones)
- Report any suspicious activity to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) immediately.
- Take a self-defense class.
- Minimize your risk of consuming a rape drug by bringing your own drinks to parties and not leaving your drink unattended.
Safety Tips at Home
- Get to know your neighbors.
- Do not prop outside doors open (this defeats the purpose of the access control cards).
- Lock your door, even if you are just going down the hall for a minute.
- Do not let strangers into your building, even if they look harmless.
- Report any suspicious people or activities to DPS immediately.
- Lock your windows and block sliding doors with a pole in the bottom track.
- Record serial numbers and keep photos and/or descriptions of all your valuables.
- If you receive an obscene phone call, hang up; if the calls continue, report them to DPS.
Safety Tips in the Car
- Keep windows rolled up, doors locked and possessions out of sight (in the trunk).
- Park in a well-lighted area and check around and inside your car before you get in.
- Make sure your car runs well and has plenty of gas.
- If your car breaks down, dial 399 on your cell phone and/or lift the hood and wait for help while staying in your vehicle with your seat belt on.
- Never pick up strangers or go with a stranger who offers help. Instead, carry a cell phone so you can call for help.
- Do not allow another vehicle to force you off the road. Drive to a busy location, a police station or DPS if you need help.
Bicycle Safety Tips
- Basic Requirements:
- A bicycle light when riding at night.
- Bicycle registration - required by California law and university regulation.
- Working brakes - get new pads and adjustments at any bike shop.
- Helmet - required by California law for bicyclists under 18 years of age and highly encouraged for persons over 18.
- Riding Your Bike
- Always ride on the right and with the flow of traffic (required by California law). Ride on the road, and not on the sidewalk, when possible.
- Obey all traffic laws. You must stop at intersections, just like other vehicles. Pedestrians have the right-of-way.
- Take extra care when passing parking lot exits and other driveways.
- Locking Your Bike
- Use a U-lock to secure your bike. At least lock your rear wheel and frame to a bike rack and use a second lock to secure the front wheel to the frame. Do not leave your bike locked "free standing." A thief can easily walk away with the bike and remove the lock later.
- Do not park your bike in a doorway, on stairs or blocking any handicapped access. Use a bike rack. Violating bikes will be impounded.
- Identifying Your Bike
- Keep a record of your bike registration so that if your bike is stolen, you can provide information for a police report. You should keep a record of the registration/tag number, make, model, serial number, size, color and number of speeds of the bike. Unlicensed bikes have little chance of being returned to their owners.
Additional Safety Information
- Safety Tips (SCampus Student Guidebook)
- Intimate Partner Violence (USC Center for Women and Men)
- Sexual Assault (USC Center for Women and Men)
- Sexual Harassment (USC Center for Women and Men)
- Stalking (USC Center for Women and Men)
- Telephone and E-mail Harassment (USC Center for Women and Men)
- Crime Prevention Tips (DPS)
- Workplace Health and Wellness Tips (USC Center for Work and Family Life)
- Disruptive and Threatening Student Behavior: Guidelines for Faculty and Staff [PDF] (Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs)