Campus Safety Awareness Month a reminder of personal safety measures

September 13, 2011

University Park, Pa. — With low crime statistics, State College and the University Park campus are generally considered safe areas, but safety officials say students and other community member still need to take steps to ensure their personal safety and the safety of others.

September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month and Penn State University Police are taking the opportunity to remind the campus community about safety issues and ways individuals can protect themselves.

"We live in a safe area, but there are issues our students -- and the whole campus community -- should be aware of and prepared for," said Rebecca Bywater, threat assessment and community education manger for University Police. "Issues related to excessive drinking, sexual assault and theft are among those things people should consider."

Bywater said there are several personal measures individuals can take to keep safe. Students should help to keep their residence halls safe by locking doors and never letting someone into the building that they don't know. No one should ever leave residence hall access doors propped open.

"Criminals often look for crimes of opportunity," Bywater said. "In many cases, the simple step of keeping a door locked can be an important deterrent."

She noted that the 24-hour card access system is in place for residence halls to ensure access only for authorized individuals.

Awareness also is important. Students should be aware of their environments, use safe routes and avoid being alone in dark or secluded areas. University Park students can use Penn State's free, dusk-to-dawn security escort service to avoid walking home alone by calling (814) 865-WALK.

She said students must be careful about alcohol consumption as well, as it impairs judgment and the ability to react.

Social media also can present a danger if used carelessly. Updating locations or statuses can clue stalkers into where students may be, or let thieves know they aren’t home. Facebook is a fun site for meeting new people, but students need to pay attention to who they friend on Facebook, what they post and what their privacy settings may reveal about them to strangers. Click here for more on Facebook privacy settings

Bywater also reminds students to be mindful of their belongings. Don’t leave anything unattended. Popular items to steal are laptops, iPods, textbooks and wallets. Students can purchase cable locks and electronic tracking software for their laptops, available at the Computer Store on campus or at local retailers.

Community members who are victims of or witness to a crime should report it to police immediately by calling 911. University Police also can be reached at (814) 863-1111. Individuals should also trust their instincts and when they see suspicious behavior report it to police.

For safety information, news and events, "like" the University Police page on Facebook at For additional information, services and resources available to the Penn State community, visit

For more on National Campus Safety Awareness Month, visit



(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 28, 2012