Useful Information for Students New to the Northwest:
The following safety tips and suggestions
are wise practices for you to follow wherever
you may be. Review them, ask questions about
any that you do not understand, and then plan
on enjoying a safe and secure U.S. visit.
Points to Remember About Your Safety
Your safety, health, and happiness are very important
to us. Although very few of our students ever
experience serious safety concerns, "common sense",
suggests that we should all know and observe several
personal safety practices. This is especially true
when you visit or live in a new and unfamiliar country.
The following safety tips and suggestions are wise
practices for you to follow wherever you may be.
Review them, ask questions about any that you do
not understand, and then plan on enjoying a safe
and secure stay in the U.S.
Safety when at Home
- Keep emergency numbers beside your telephone and in your wallet or purse;
- Be sure your doors and windows are always locked;
- Be sure you know who is at the door before you open it;
- Never leave an outside door or any locked building propped open;
- Keep valuables out of sight and in a safe place;
- Never permit a stranger to come into your room, apartment, or house;
- Ask for identification from any repair or service person before
opening your door. Call the company the person works for if you
- Promptly report suspicious people standing around your apartment
or house. Do not go outside if you see someone suspicious;
- When you are going home, have your keys ready before you arrive at the door;
- If a stranger asks to use your telephone, tell him or her that you will make the call for them, but do not open your door or
allow the stranger to come inside;
- Enter and leave your residence quickly and always use the main entrance - not side or back doors;
- When you go out at night, pull down your shade or pull your curtains shut and leave both outside and inside lights turned on;
- Never indicate that you are home alone, either on the telephone or to someone at the door. Recorded phone greetings should not use your name;
- Get to know your neighbors;
- Keep a First Aid kit in your home;
Almost every city in the world has certain dangerous or
high crime areas. Learn where those areas are, and avoid them.
- Listen to your instincts and trust them. They are your most important protector. Use common sense
in any dangerous situation. If you feel uncomfortable or afraid of certain people or situations, avoid them.
- Be cautious of people you do not know, and avoid people whom you feel look suspicious;
- Always be aware of your surroundings and what is happening around you;
- When you are waiting for a bus, wait near other people, near an occupied building, or in a lighted area;
- Do not carry large amounts of cash. Traveler's checks and credit cards are much safer. Avoid making a public show of money and valuables.
- Carry your purse or shoulder bag securely under your arm. Keep your camera, CD player, and other valuables out of
sight. Do not leave them unattended, even for just a few seconds. Engrave valuable possessions with your driver's license number for identification.
- If someone tries to rob you, give him or her what he or she wants. Do not fight back unless you are physically threatened.
Remember that your life is more important than money or valuables!
- If you are attacked (mugged), fight to get free, Yell "Help!" or "Fire!", or just scream, run away, and yell for help.
- Whenever possible, walk with a friend or in a group, especially at night. Walk in designated pathways and well-lighted areas where there are other people.
- Avoid accepting a ride from someone whose judgment is impaired by alcohol or drugs. Only accept rides from people you know and trust. When driving, do not pick-up hitchhikers.
- Do not try to frighten an attacker with any kind of weapon.
- Work with another student when working late at night on projects in academic buildings, such as the computer lab or library. Always know the location of the nearest
telephone and how to report emergencies. A BC security officer is always on duty while the campus is open; if you are alone, and would like the security officer to
escort you to your car, dial security from any of the BC pay telephones (dial 2400) and wait for the officer to come meet you.
- Avoid automated teller machines at night, early mornings, or in an unfamiliar place. Be sure you are aware of people around you while you are using the machine.
Avoid withdrawing or depositing large amounts of cash.
- If you believe you are being followed, either while walking or in your car, go to a well-lighted place where there are other people such as a store or gas station;
if you are in your car, honk you horn until help comes.
Safety when Walking
- Do not walk alone, especially at night. Whenever possible, walk in a group. When walking in a group is impossible, use a taxi or take the bus.
- Always walk in the middle of the sidewalk. Do not walk close to alleys, buildings, or bushes.
- Do not take short cuts especially through parks, empty lots, or dark and deserted places. Walk in designated pathways and in well-lit areas.
- Do not wear headphones when you are walking or jogging.
- If you are carrying a purse or shoulder bag, keep it tightly under your arm.
- If you think that somebody is following you, turn around and look directly into his or her face. If you still feel uncomfortable, cross the street, alter
directions, vary your pace, walk toward a policeman, security guard, or a fire station. Go where there are a lot of people, or go to a well-lighted place like a store or gas station.
- If you must go somewhere alone, especially at night, plan your route carefully. Tell a friend where you are going, when you will return, and a telephone number where you can be reached.
- When you are walking, look confident and look people in the eye.
- If you get lost or you are unsure where you are going, go into a store and ask for directions. Ask a bus driver or a taxi driver for directions, or get help from a police officer.
- Be aware of your surroundings; know where you are. Look at a map BEFORE you leave for your destination. Staring into a map while walking down the street can make you look vulnerable.
- Eliminate the opportunity for crime; don't impair your judgment with alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Do not take short cuts - especially through parks, empty lots, or dark and deserted places. Walk in designated pathways and well-lit areas.
- If you are carrying a purse or shoulder bag, keep it tightly under your arm. Do not put the strap over your shoulder because if someone tries to take the bag, you could be dragged to the ground and hurt.
- Be cautious of strangers. Trust your instincts. Do not worry about being polite. Do not worry about feeling stupid or foolish.
- If you must go somewhere alone, especially at night, plan your route carefully. Tell a friend where you are going, when you probably return, and a telephone number where you can be reached.
- When you are walking, look confident and look people in the eye.
- If you get lost or you are not sure where you are going, go into a store and ask for directions, ask a bus driver or taxi driver for directions or get help from the police.
- Do not go to an automatic teller machine alone. If you see a suspicious person near the ATM machine don't use it; come back later.
- Avoid using an ATM at night.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Know where you are. Know where you are going and what to expect. Eliminate the opportunity for crime. Don't impair your judgment with alcohol or illegal drugs.
Safety while Driving
- Remember: You must have a valid driver's license, car registration and proof of insurance with you when you drive.
- Always fasten your seat belt both as a driver and when you are a passenger.
- Do not ride with anyone that you do not know and trust.
- Do not pick up hitchhikers.
- Do not drink alcohol and drive. Do not ride with someone who has drunk alcohol.
- Always lock your car when you are driving and when you park.
- At stop lights, keep your car in gear. If someone approaches you, roll down your window
a little and keep your door locked. If the person seems suspicious, honk your horn and drive away quickly (and safely).
- Keep a flashlight and First Aid Kit in your car.
- Do not drive late at night in places that are unfamiliar or unsafe.
- Always keep your gas tank at least half full. Do not take a chance of running out of gas, especially on the highway.
- When you are driving on the highway and need to stop, use hotels to rest in at night.
- Stop at rest areas only during the day and keep your doors locked. Never park on the shoulder of the highway for a rest.
- If you think a suspicious person is following you in a car, turn around and drive in the opposite direction, go to a place where
there are many people and/or to a well-lighted place, write down the car's license plate number, and call the police.
- If someone runs into your car and there is only minor damage, stop and discuss the accident there. Be sure that you get the other
driver's name and license plate number, plus the name of his or her insurance company. If there is more serious damage, call 911,
and a police officer will come as soon as possible. If you feel uncomfortable talking with the other person, call 911, and a police
officer will come as soon as possible to assist you. If you feel threatened or the other person threatens you, stay in your car;
keep the doors locked and windows rolled up. Wait until a police officer arrives to help.
- If you are stopped by a police officer, stay in your car.
- Park your car in well-lighted areas where there are other cars and people.
- Before you get out of your car, look around. If you see someone suspicious, don't get out; drive to a safer place and park there.
- When you go back to your parked car, be sure you have your car keys in your hand. Before you get into your car, be sure no one
is inside. When you are inside the car, lock all doors immediately.
Cooperating with the Police
- Obey the laws of the U.S.
- Always carry identification with you.
- Always cooperate with the police. Be polite. Remember: the police are working for you.
- Call a police officer "Officer," "Sir," or "Ma'am." If the police stop you and want to question you, always tell the truth.
- Do exactly what the police tell you to do. Do not argue with or question them.
- If you are arrested, or if the police ask you to go to the police station, do not argue or resist.
- If you are driving and the police try to stop you, pull over and stop as soon as possible. Stay in your car and wait for the police to come to you.
- If a policeman is not in uniform, ask politely to see his identification.
Riding on a Bus or in a Taxi
- When you are waiting for a bus at night, wait near an occupied building or in a lighted area and stay close to other people.
- When you are riding on a bus, sit as close as possible to the driver.
- If someone bothers you on a bus, tell the driver immediately.
- Keep your belongings on your lap or on the floor under your knees.
- When the bus is at your stop, leave the bus quickly.
- When you get out of a taxi, ask the driver to wait until you have entered the place you are going to.
Riding a Bicycle
- Always wear a helmet when you ride your bike.
- If your route is not well-lighted, do not ride at night.
- When you park your bike, take it inside, if possible. If you cannot take your bike inside, lock it and park it in a well-lighted area.
- Obey all traffic laws.
- Before you take a trip get as much information as you can about your destination and make arrangements in advance for transportation from the airport to your hotel.
- When you take a trip keep your passport, medicine, valuables and important papers in your carry-on luggage. Make copies of your passport and keep them in your luggage.
- Write the numbers of your traveler's checks, credit cards, and important papers and leave the numbers at home with your family or friends.
- Carry your billfold in your front pocket or in a "fanny pack" around your waist.
- Carry a card, written in English, which gives the address and telephone number for where you are going.
- Be sure your luggage is locked and never leave your luggage unattended.
- When you are staying in a hotel, keep your doors locked at all times. Never open your door to a stranger.
- If you rent a car, ask the rental-car agency for directions to your destination. Buy a map to your destination and use
it. Ask a policeman or go to a well-lighted store or gas station if you must stop to get directions.
- If you arrive late at night, take a taxi to your hotel and make arrangements to pick up your rental car the next day.
Ask that the car rental sticker be removed from the bumper.
Preventing Sexual Assault
- Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable about a person or situation, your instincts are telling you to avoid that person or situation.
- To reduce the risk of sexual assault, remember that you can agree to have sex or refuse it. Say exactly how you feel. Say "No" clearly. Know your own values and know when and how to communicate them.
- Limit or avoid use of alcohol or other substances that impair judgment. Be aware of the amount of alcohol you and others around you have consumed.
- If someone tries to rape you, keep calm; think about the situation and think about your options. Prepare mentally - consider your response if pressured to do things you don't want to.
- There are several ways to avoid rape. The more strategies you use, the better your chances of getting away. Try to escape it by: running away, discussion, negotiating, begging, screaming, acting crazy, defending yourself.
- Become informed about rape, sexual assault avoidance strategies and safety issues.
- Avoid being the only couple in a secluded place.
- Have your own transportation or arrange transportation with someone you trust.
- If you are raped, call 911 immediately. You may also want to call the local Rape Crisis Hotline. Do not bathe or clean up after the attack. This will help the police find the attacker.
- Don't assume "it can't happen to me."
"At BC, because of the small class size and the instructors' office hours, students can really get to know the instructors."