Prevention Methods

Residence Halls

  • Don't open your door to strangers! Use the peephole; if in doubt, don't open the door - call Public Safety (x4444) to verify the person's identity before admitting them into your room.
  • Report strangers and suspicious circumstances. Many successful thefts of jewelry, currency etc. are camouflaged by the perpetrator gaining entry to your room by pretending to sell candy or solicit donations for "Charities".
  • Do not leave your MAC card or credit cards where they can be spotted and stolen. Such a theft can occur and the actor can empty your bank account before you even notice the card missing. NEVER write your PIN number on the card or give it to anyone.
  • Never lend your room key to anyone.
  • Do not give out the combination of your room door lock to anyone.
  • Never prop exterior doors. Help keep your fellow student safe.
  • Most importantly, lock your room each and every time you leave the room, no matter how brief you plan on being gone.
  • The Department of Public Safety would be happy to provide a presentation, conducted by a certified crime prevention professional, in your residence hall. Contact Public Safety at Ext. 9-6979 to make arrangements.

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Do'S & Don'ts of Harassing or Obscene Phone Calls

(Download the printable brochure on Harrassing Phone Calls)

  • Keep calm and hang up immediately. Crank callers want to get a frightened or angry response from you. So not try to analyze the caller or prolong the call.
  • Do not give any information to strangers over the phone.
  • Do not try to figure out who is calling. Extending the call is what the crank caller wants.
  • Do not tell others of the calls. Many obscene or harassing calls are made by acquaintances, family members, or a girlfriend / boyfriend. Only discuss the calls with the proper authorities.
  • Never give your phone number to strangers or anonymous callers.
  • Report all calls to the Public Safety Department at 9-6979. Use the chart above to record the date, time and type of calls you are receiving.

Remember: If you receive a harassing phone call, the caller does not necessarily have to know you personally. Your name and phone number could have been taken from any one of a number of sources most of which, are public information.

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Personal Safety

Prevention is being alert and being prepared:

  • Avoid poorly lit streets, alleys and pathways.
  • Keep alert; if you see a person acting suspiciously, head for bright lights and people.
  • Never jog alone; stick to a planned route and run with a friend.
  • Never hitch hike - take the Wildcat Shuttle!
  • Your first defense is noise - Scream!, scream "Fire" to help attract attention.
  • Convey confidence through body language - walk with your head up and be alert!
  • If you are working or studying late and encounter (or observe) a suspicious person(s), notify Public Safety immediately. Immediate notification to Public Safety will increase your safety, may prevent a crime, and may assist Public Safety in locating a criminal.

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Carjacking

Carjacking has become the growth crime of the 1990's. It can occur anywhere - in a parking lot, at a gas station, or even at a traffic signal. If you drive your car on campus or leave your car on campus there are some common sense precautions you can take to avoid becoming a victim of a carjacking:

Before you enter your car...

  • Be alert to any activity near the car. Pay attention to your surroundings.
  • When approaching your car to enter it, have your key in hand, and check the handles,
    locks and back seat before entering.
  • If someone is loitering near your unoccupied car as you approach it, keep walking an
    contact Public Safety for an escort.

Once you're in your car...

  • Keep the doors locked and windows up.
  • Be suspicious of people approaching your car asking for directions or change, or
    giving out flyers.
  • When stopping in traffic, leave enough distance between your car and the one in front
    of you so you can pull away quickly if necessary.
  • If another driver bumps your car, or your tire goes flat, keep your doors locked and
    windows up and wait for Police to arrive or drive to the nearest Police station.
  • Be alert when using drive-up automated teller machines (ATM).

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Keychains & Whistles

The Department of Public Safety provides security key chains and whistles to all students, faculty and staff. These key chains have a four digit security number that is entered into the Department's computer system along with the person's name, address or department, social security number and phone number. Public Safety encourages all students, faculty and staff to carry their keys on this security key chain. If keys are lost, and turned in to the department, we are able to immediately locate the owner. We also strongly encourage all members of our community to place this four digit security number on textbooks, bookbags, handbags, and any other items of value.

Again, this will allow us to return Lost/Found property quickly and efficiently. Villanova Whistles are also distributed by Public Safety and we encourage students, faculty and staff to make this whistle part of their key chain.

Stop by the Department of Public Safety to obtain your security key chain and whistle.

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Operation Identification

(Download the printable brochure on Operation ID)

A thief's greatest risk is being "caught in the act", and the second greatest risk is being caught with the evidence. If an item has been inscribed with a driver's license number, the information can be entered into a computer and the owner can be identified. This knowledge alone may act as a major deterrent to a potential thief. Operation ID tells a thief that you're determined to protect your belongings.

Operation ID is an anti-theft program. The primary goals are to deter thefts and help the Department of Public Safety and local police recover property that is stolen and identify the owner. Electric engravers, and other marking tools are available through the Department of Public Safety. Items that may be engraved include: appliances, electronic equipment, computer equipment, clothing/bags, and bicycles.

Engrave your property with your driver's license number. Do not use your social security number. Precede the license number with the state abbreviation. Example: PA 12 345 678

Record serial numbers, brand names, model names, serial numbers, and detailed descriptions of your property so that if you are the victim of a theft, information can be given to Public Safety and the local police.

A log to record the identification information of your property is available at the Department of Public Safety or online at Personal Property Record Form.

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Preventing Theft

Chances are that you will be a victim of theft sometime in your lifetime; however, there are ways to minimize the opportunities thieves have to commit a theft.

  • Close and lock the doors and windows to your home, office, or room whenever you leave, even if it is only for a couple of minutes. It only takes seconds for a thief to enter and walk away with an item.
  • Do not keep your purse, wallet, keys, etc. out in the open to be seen. Put them in a drawer, file cabinet, closet, etc. Don't let them become an attractive and easy target.
  • Try to keep small valuable objects (CD's, jewelry, expensive knick-knacks, etc.) away from doorways or open windows. They can be easily taken when your not looking as a thief walks by the doorway or window.
  • Don't let it become common knowledge or display signs where you keep your valuables. Remember, who you tell a secret to may tell someone else (even without meaning to). And you don't always know who else may overhear it.

If you do become a victim of theft:

  • Notify the Department of Public Safety immediately (or if not on campus, to the local police).
  • Notify any credit card companies, and/or any other organization your stolen items may access or use.

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Bicycle Safety

Bicycles are a convenient mode of transportation preferred by many members of Villanova's community. The following tips are offered in the hope that your cycling experience at Villanova will be a safe one and your bike will remain secure (and with you!) during your stay.

  • Be alert and conscientious; yield to pedestrians and motorists.
  • Keep to the right, ride defensively and use hand signals.
  • Walk your bike across busy intersections.
  • Always lock your bike with a good lock. Secure to a bike rack. Bike racks are located on and around campus and residence halls.***
  • Do not park bikes inside entryways, stairwells, handicapped areas or designated "fire lane" areas.

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Fire Safety/Alarm Procedures

The Department of Public Safety asks for your help in eliminating campus fire hazards.

  • Do not overload electrical circuits in your Residence Hall room. This can result in a fire.
  • Open flames, including burning of incense and candles, can lead to a dangerous situation.
  • Dispose of all waste as soon as possible. Do not leave bags/materials in hallways or stairwells.
  • Do not store bicycles, chairs, desks and other items in exit ways. Blocked exits can cause "chain reaction" pile ups during emergencies.
  • If you smoke, Do not smoke in bed or near flammable materials. Be sure ashes, matches, and cigarette ends are extinguished and cold before you dump them. Do not smoke after the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Upon discovering a fire...

  • Activate the building fire alarm system and institute initial evacuation procedure.
  • Telephone Public Safety immediately (x4444), giving full details (Location, Materials Involved, etc...)
  • Do not hang up the phone. Let the dispatcher terminate the conversation.
  • Never enter a burning building -- Do not use the elevators in a fire, they will stop if the power ceases, possibly trapping you between floors.
  • Do not attempt to fight the fire yourself, unless the fire is extremely small and you have the proper equipment and training.
  • Leave the building immediately and await the Fire Department outside to direct them to the fire scene.
  • Treat each fire alarm as notice of a real fire, until positively proven otherwise by the proper authorities.

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Sexual Assault Prevention Tips

  • Communicate clearly and listen carefully to what your partner is saying.
  • Communicate your limits firmly and directly. If you say "NO", say it like you mean it.
  • In a dating situation, define exactly what you want from the relationship.
  • Attend large parties with friends you can trust. Agree to "look out" for one another.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. Remember that alcohol and drugs can interfere with your ability to assess situations and to communicate effectively.
  • Leave parties and social gatherings with a group of friends rather than alone or with someone you don't know very well.

A student, staff or faculty member who is a victim of rape, sexual assault or sexual abuse is strongly encouraged to report this crime immediately to the Department of Public Safety. The University provides support to victims of sexual offenses through a variety of resources. An investigator in the Department of Public Safety is available to explain options and resources and offer support for the victim. The victim may choose to pursue criminal prosecution, judicial action, both, or may decide to take no action. The Investigator will accompany the victim through the entire process. Other University Departments including the Counseling Center, Campus Ministry, the Center for Drug and Alcohol Assistance and the Dean of Student's Office are available to offer support for the victim. The University acknowledges that it is each victim's individual decision whether to report these crimes to the local police but the Department of Public Safety urges that reporting take place to help assure a safer living and working environment for the entire University Community. A victim's silence only encourages an assailant to strike again.

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Emergency Call Boxes

Emergency Call Boxes were designed and strategically placed throughout the campus in order to provide emergency assistance to the Villanova Community. They are located throughout the campus and parking lot areas.
Emergency Call Boxes are strictly for emergency use only. They are your direct link to Public Safety in the event of an emergency, such as reporting a suspicious person or circumstance, a medical emergency or an emergency escort.
For normal business inquiries, call (610) 519-6979.

Accident Reporting Information

What to do in case of an accident:

  1. Stop. Get names of owners and drivers involved, driver's license numbers, registration numbers of vehicles involved, names and addresses of all occupants.
  2. Get names and street addresses of witnesses.
  3. Remember locations of cars and pedestrians involved in the accident, both prior to its occurrence and afterward, so that you will be able to draw a diagram.
  4. Express no opinions as to whom was at fault. Give no information except as required by the authorities. Sign no statement for anyone except an identified representative of your insurance company or as required by the authorities.
  5. When an accident occurs locally, contact your agent. If the accident occurs away from the local area, contact your nearest insurance representative.
  6. Ascertain from local police what reports of accidents are required by you.
  7. Your interest will be served best if you are courteous and engage in no controversy at the scene of the accident but leave the entire handling of the claim to the insurance company's representative.

Seatbelts make sense!!!!

  • Newer seatbelt design allows for total freedom of motion while driving.
  • People who are thrown from cars are 25 times more likely to be killed than if they had been held in their seats.
  • The majority of all car accidents occur within 25 miles of home - in cars going 40 miles per hours or slower.
  • You may be a good driver, but weather and road conditions (not to mention other drivers) can affect your safety.
  • Seatbelts, can make a life-and-death difference if you or your loved ones are involved in an automobile accident.

Source: Royal Insurance Company

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Semester Break Safety Tips

The Department of Public Safety wishes you a safe trip, whether it is back home or to another destination…

The Department of Public Safety is concerned about you and your belongings. We hope that you enjoy your break away from school. The significant decrease in student occupancy during break periods makes a campus environment an attractive target for thieves.

Here are some simple safety precautions you can take to reduce your chances of being a victim of theft.

  • Make sure door and window locks are functioning properly and report defects to your Resident/ Apartment Assistant or Facilities Management immediately.
  • Plan to take valuables such as: jewelry, money, family heirlooms, laptops, camera/video equipment home with you for safe keeping.
  • Large items such as televisions and stereos should be engraved with your driver’s license and/or security key chain number.
  • Smaller items of value such as: palm pilots, DVD’s, CD’s and Nintendo/PlayStation games should be well secured or taken home.
  • Report suspicious persons to Public Safety (4444) immediately.
  • Be alert for persons “hanging around” on the floors or near the entrances of your hall or apartment building.
  • When leaving your room or apartment lock your windows and doors. Unplug and turn off appliances and lights.
  • Don’t allow acquaintances to stay in your room or apartment while you are away. Don’t give your key or combination to anyone.
  • Keep your travel plans confidential and don’t put travel information on your answering machine or voicemail.
  • What do I do if I am leaving my vehicle on campus during the holiday/smester break?
  • If you must leave your vehicle on campus, you must register your vehicle with the parking office.

Make sure that your vehicle is secure and Do not leave valuables in your vehicle. After you register with the Parking Office, park your vehicle on the Ithan and Lancaster Sides of the East Main Lot (across from Jake Nevin Field house) displaying a valid parking sticker and/or hangtag.

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Identity Theft

Identity theft is the nation's fastest-growing crime, affecting an estimated 500,000 to 7,000,000 people each year. You don't even have to leave home to become a victim. Currently, criminals view this crime as a relatively low-risk, high-reward endeavor. You may have been a victim or know someone who has been a victim. A Division officer has even been a victim of identity theft! So no one is immune. It also takes a considerable amount of time, effort, and sometimes money to get your credit accounts and credit history straightened out once a identify thief has struck!

Transactions can take place over the phone or Internet making it difficult to verify the true identity of the individual. While there is some use of this "high-tech" means to steal, most law enforcement sources will tell you that most of the thefts are done in a low-tech, hands-on way. Most are committed by family, friends, coworkers and former spouses, and anyone who has access to personal information. Strangers obtain this information from stolen purses, briefcases and mail left in unlocked cars or offices. They will sometimes steal mail from mailboxes. They look for pre-approved credit card mailings, card statements or tax returns. They also obtain this from "inside" sources such as store employees, cashiers and telemarketers. They will take this information, and pretending to be you, establish new accounts, ask about a lower rate, up your credit limit and then ask for a change of address. They will use information to open checking accounts and small loans. They then leave you will the bills and the negative credit report. In past cases they have even purchased large ticket items such as computers and even vehicles!

While you can't completely protect yourself, here are some ways to be safer.

Minimize your risk by:

  • Cancel unused credit cards and cut them up
  • Don't carry your social security card with you
  • Always check your credit statements. Report unauthorized purchases immediately.
  • Never give out your social security number over the phone
  • Shred statements when you are done with them
  • Always take your receipt!
  • Write "ASK FOR I.D." on the back of your credit card instead of signing it.

If you become a victim do these three things immediately:

  1. File a police report. Get a copy of the report.
  2. Close the accounts that have been used and contact security divisions of the card company.
  3. Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus. A sample letter can be found at www.identitytheft.org Report your identity has been stolen and ask that a "fraud alert" be placed on your file and no new credit be granted without your permission.

Here are some links to help you:

These letters can be used to send to the three credit agencies to receive a free credit report. It is important if you decide to request a credit report that you do it from all three agencies since each agency covers different geographic areas.

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Important Phone Numbers

  • Public Safety - EMERGENCY - 610-519-4444
  • Public Safety - Administrative - 610-519-6979
  • Parking & Transportation Services - 610-519-6990
  • Connelly Center - 610-519-7250
  • Health Center - 610-519-4070
  • Maintenance Department - 610-519-4420
  • Snow Closing Information - 610-519-4505
  • Events at Villanova - General Information - 610-519-4500
  • SEPTA Transit Information - 215-580-7800
  • Amtrak Information - 1-800-872-7245

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