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Personal Safety & Theft Prevention Tips
Practicing good personal safety habits is the best way to protect yourself in any environment. These tips are designed to help you build these skills.
Remember: always be aware of your surroundings and to trust your instincts. If you see something that makes you feel uncomfortable, say something. Call the George Washington University Police at 202-994-6111.
We recommend the following tips to help you stay safe on campus and throughout the District of Columbia
- Keep valuables out of sight; including purses and wallets, cell phones, electronics and jewelry, and never leave your valuables unattended.
- Do not carry more than you need. Leave unnecessary valuable items securely in your residence. Carry only the minimum amount of money or credit cards you will need for the day.
- Wait til you arrive at your location to make cell phone calls. However, if you must talk on your cell phone while traveling, use headphones or a handsfree device to that you can keep your phone secure and out of sight.
- Avoid isolated areas—underground garages, alleys, parking lots, and offices after business hours.
- Walk with a group, especially at night. From 7pm to 5am, use the Colonial Express Shuttle Service or 4-RIDE.
- Be familiar with locations of the Blue Light Emergency Phones on campus.
- If you feel like you are being followed, move as fast as possible towards the nearest lighted and populated building. You can also cross the street in the middle of the road or flag down a passing car for assistance. If on-campus, activate a Blue Light Emergency Phone or call GWPD (202-994-6111).
- Keep a firm grip on your purse or backpack. Keep the bag zipped closed, and carry it under your arm and near the front of your body.
- Carry your wallet inside your coat or in your front pants pocket.
- Maintain a safe distance from strangers, even if they just ask for directions.
- Be aware of your surroundings when using ATM’s. If you see anyone or anything suspicious, cancel your transaction. If you must use an ATM after hours, use one in a well lit area where you feel safe.
Safety on the Metro and while travelling through the city
- Wait for public transit in a well-lit and populated area.
- Avoid using electronic devices on the metro rail or metro bus especially when seated near the doors. Thefts happen quickly, and thieves are more likely to grab phones from the hands of people sitting near the doors.
- Do not sleep on the bus or Metro. When riding the Metro, sit in a car with other people or in the first car near the conductor.
- Always lock your bike in the proper manner, with the lock securing both the front tire, and the frame of the bake to the rail.
- Have a plan when you go out. Decide before you leave how you will get home. Let someone know where you are going, with whom, and what time you plan to return.
- Learn about the neighborhoods where you live, work, volunteer, and have fun. Know the locations of police and fire stations, hospitals, and shops that are open late.
Safety in other areas