Holiday Crime Prevention Tips

The following information was provided by FSUPD:

Crime Bulletin Holiday Tips

This message has been approved by David Perry, Chief of FSU Police, for distribution to all students currently taking classes, faculty and staff.

We are rapidly coming up on the Winter Holidays, and soon the semester will be over. Approximately 60,000 students from FSU, FAMU, and TCC will be out of school for the holidays. Additionally, many FSU employees will be taking a break before the spring semester also. Many will head out of town for the holidays.

Unfortunately, many criminals are about to begin their busiest time of year, breaking into cars and buildings to steal whatever valuables they can find. Florida State University Police are offering a few tips to help FSU students, staff, and faculty who work and reside on campus to take precautions now, which may prevent criminal activities in their absence.

With simple advance planning, you can decrease the opportunities for a criminal to victimize you.

If you live on campus, ensure that your room or apartment is secure when you leave. Lock all doors and windows. Avoid leaving messages on your answering machine or door stating how long you will be gone.

Consider taking valuables, such as laptop computers, home with you for the holidays. If you live in a building that will be completely vacant for the break, turn the lights out when you leave. Immediately report any security discrepancies in your residence hall or apartment building to University Housing, Property management, or FSUPD. FSUPD offers Extra Protection services for campus residents who are away. Simply call the FSUPD and ask for the service. Our dispatchers will gather the necessary information from you for officers who will check on your residence in your absence.

If you will be out of your office for the break, be sure to lock your office door when you leave. Secure office equipment in locked cabinets or drawers wherever possible, and take personal valuables home. Consider contacting the FSUPD for Extra Protection checks if you feel your work area is vulnerable. Ensure that the FSUPD has updated alarm call out person information, and confirm alarms are working properly. If you notice any locks in disrepair, or security discrepancies in your building, report them immediately to FSU maintenance, and also contact FSUPD Crime Prevention if you have a security concern.

If you must return to your office during the break, consider calling FSUPD before hand to inform the patrol staff, and have your FSU card at hand for easy identification. Officers will be on continual patrol during the break and will walk through buildings on a regular basis. If you must enter an alarmed area during the break, make sure you have the proper authorization and alarm codes to be in the area. As always, do not prop doors.

If you use an Out of Office Reply on your computer, do not give specific dates of when you will be gone from the office. Do not post similar messages on your door or voicemail, this gives thieves information they do not need!

Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy before you undertake a long trip. Check fluid levels and tire pressure. Learn how to change a flat tire. Carry a cell phone, if you have one, in case of emergencies. Even cell phones without a service provider will allow you to dial 911 in an emergency. Plan your travel route prior to leaving, and notify a contact person about your route, destination, and departure times. Each year, worried family members request FSU Police to look around campus for students who have not arrived at their expected destinations on time. Most often this is a result of miscommunication from the traveler.

Once you have reached your destination, park in well lighted areas if possible. Lock your car, and do not leave purses, luggage, packages or other valuables in plain sight. Of course, never drink and drive!

If you leave your bicycle on campus, make sure it is locked to a bicycle rack or other approved bicycle parking area with an strong tamper and cut resistant locking device. Engrave your bicycles with personal identifying information, such as your driver license number, and record the brand and serial number to be stored with other such information. Register your bikes with FSUPD to help recover your bike in the event of theft.

In public, do not carry large amounts of cash. Keep track of credit card slips and carbons until you can shred them. Beware of people asking unusual questions about your accounts. Beware of persons peering over your shoulders at ATMs.

Do not leave personal or valuable items alone or unattended, even momentarily. Be careful of strange situations. If you are uncomfortable or feel like something is wrong, get away from the situation and notify law enforcement. Keep your guard up and maintain awareness of your surroundings at all times. If something feels wrong, it probably is!

If you are the victim of a robbery or other crime, do not try to defend your property with your life. Remember, property can be replaced. Be the best witness you can be, and call law enforcement to report the crime.

The Florida State University Police Department wishes you and yours a safe and happy Winter Break!

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