Personal Safety Tips

Planning for Personal Safety

The purpose of planning for personal safety in your office is simple: to reduce your risk through preventive action.

  • Make sure you know your office’s plan for safety and security. Participate in meetings, drills, or training sessions to stay familiar with personal safety plans in your office.
  • Lock your desk and door every time you leave the office or ask someone to watch it for you to prevent theft.
  • Assess your own office space for personal security. Consider these questions:
    1. Is your office directly accessible to the public or is there a reception area first?
    2. Do you sit with your back to the door or can you see people coming in and out of your office area?
    3. Have you considered your options if you were trapped in your office by a threatening person? How would you get out? How would you attract the attention of others?
  • Take a campus workshop to increase your skills in crime awareness and what to do when faced with violence.

If You See a Suspicious Person in Your Building

  • Ask if you can help him or her. If the person has business in the building, he or she will appreciate your assistance.
  • Ask the person to leave the building if he or she does not have a reason to be there. Most people will leave when noticed.
  • Call Campus Police at 504-671-6111 if the person refuses to leave when asked. Be sure you can describe the person to the police when you call them.

If the person…

  • Refuses to leave the building
  • Threatens you or others
  • Becomes angry, yells, or is verbally abusive
  • Appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Try to respond in this way:

  1. Stay as calm as you can; it can keep tensions from escalating and may help defuse the situations.
  2. Try to gain the cooperation of the individual causing the disturbance. Show empathy and concern. Try saying, “I can see your frustration, and I’m frustrated too. Unfortunately, the rules are…”
  3. Place yourself behind a desk or chair near the exit to reduce your risk of physical assault.
  4. Take all threats of violence seriously — even casual remarks. Most violent acts have prior warning signs.
  5. Try to exit and retreat to a safe area if the person’s behavior is potentially violent. Call 911 as soon as possible.

Safe Ways to Deal with Difficult Situations

  • Attitude is important. Always treat people with respect, regardless of their behavior.
  • Don’t insist that you are right or contradict someone’s statement. Instead, let the person know you see the situation differently. Tell them, “I can see we don’t see this the same way,” then try to bring in another person who can help.
  • If someone is verbally abusive, tell them you will be able to help them better if they calm down, lower their voice and stop attacking you. Set limits: you do not have to tolerate abuse.
  • Don’t lie or make up stories to back out of a difficult situation. It could backfire and put you in an even more difficult situation.
  • Humor can sometimes help relieve tension in a difficult situation. However, be respectful, not sarcastic.
  • Trust your intuition. If you thing someone may be potentially violent, try to exit and get help. For example, you can say, “Let me see if I can find someone who can help.” Call 911.

If you must work alone in a building during the evening or on weekends, take extra precautions to ensure your personal safety:

  • Tell a friend or colleague where you are.
  • Keep the door closed and locked while in an office.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Call Campus Police at 504-671-6112 if you see or hear anything suspicious.
  • Arrange to meet a friend or call Campus Police at (504) 671-6112 before you leave.

Calling the Police

Skills Training

For safety presentations to address your specific concerns or an overview of campus safety and security programs, call Campus Police at 504-671-5475

Night Safety

For a walking escort to destinations on or near campus, call Campus Police at 504-671-6112.