The West Virginia University Police Department encourages the campus community to be safe, especially during the holiday season. Though filled with bustling shoppers and many holiday preparations, this time of year statistically shows an increase in criminal activity.

With more people out and about with more cash while buying gifts and distracted by displays and crowds or becoming a little careless and stressed with people and traffic, there are more opportunities for easy crimes.

The bottom line is to be cautious and trust your instincts while making use of these tips.

Room, office and home when away:

  • Ask a neighbor to watch your house or apartment; ask them to park in your driveway or parking space from time to time.
  • Use automatic timers to turn lights on and off.
  • Stop your mail and newspaper deliveries.
  • Arrange to have snow shoveled (if necessary) while you are gone.
  • When possible, take valuables with you, or lock them in your closet.
  • Turn off or unplug unnecessary appliances before you leave.
  • Be sure all of your windows and doors are locked at your home and office before you leave.
  • Avoid keeping your purse or handbag under your desk at work. Consider locking it in a desk drawer or file cabinet.

While shopping:

  • Stay alert and be aware of everything around you. Take a minute to observe who may be watching you. Criminals often target people who are distracted.
  • Park in a highly visible well-lit space. It may be daylight when you arrive at the shopping center or mall, but when you come out it may be dark.
  • Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling from straps. Put your wallet in an inside coat pocket or front pants pocket.
  • Place all shopping bags, packages and gifts out of sight in the trunk or under the seats in your car.
  • Always know where you parked your car. You don’t want to spend unnecessary time walking around the parking lot.
  • Look inside and under your car before entering.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash – use debit card, credit card or check.
  • Don’t over burden yourself with packages. This will deter pickpockets and purse snatchers.
  • Try not to park next to a van or truck where people can hide.
  • If you take children shopping, teach them to go to a police officer or store security officer if they get separated or lost. Ensure that children know that mommy/daddy would never send a person they don’t know to “take them home” or “take them to find mommy or daddy.”
  • Make a list of all your credit/debit cards and their numbers and keep this list at home. This will assist you and the police if they are stolen.

While driving:

  • Call your parents or people at your destination and let them know when you are leaving and when you expect to arrive.
  • Be alert at intersections and stoplights.
  • Do not use your cell phone while driving. Use Bluetooth capability when you must use your cell phone. Do not text while driving.
  • Keep your car doors locked, even while driving.
  • If your car breaks down, stay with the car and accept no rides. If someone stops to help, ask him or her to call the police. Use your own cell phone if signal range allows.
  • Keep your vehicle well maintained and the gas tank full.
  • Remember to wear your seatbelts.
  • Plan your trip so that you are well rested, as many accidents occur when drivers are tired.
  • Use good judgment when partaking in holiday cheer. Don’t drink and drive.
  • Have your car keys in your hand and be ready to open your car door immediately.

At the ATM:

  • Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings when you use an ATM.
  • If you notice anything unusual, cancel your transaction, pocket your card and leave immediately. Go to a safe place and call police.
  • Have everything ready (deposit slips, card) when you arrive at the ATM. When you have completed your transaction, pocket your cash and card immediately. Count your cash and
    put your card away later.
  • When using a drive-up ATM, remember to always keep your car doors locked; all windows except for the driver’s side window should be rolled up. And keep the car running.
  • Treat your ATM card like cash. Guard your ATM card as carefully as you do cash. Never give account numbers or card information over the phone, unless you know exactly to whom you are speaking.
  • Do not write your PIN number on your card or keep it written somewhere in your wallet. Never tell anyone your PIN.

In the library:

  • Do not leave your personal property unattended even for a minute.
  • Report any suspicious persons/activities to library personnel or campus police.
  • Try not to bring valuables with you to the library.

At the Student Rec Center:

  • Secure all personal property in a locker. Keep your locker locked whenever it is unattended.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of money or other valuables with you to the athletic facility.
  • Report any suspicious persons to the staff or campus police.


CONTACT: University Police

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