Crime prevention is the attempt to reduce victimization and to deter crime.
In order to be successful in the business of crime prevention, it is essential for us to work cooperatively by forming solid relationships with the Faculty, Staff and Students. We count on and encourage all community members to be the “eyes and ears” of our campus, and to report suspicious situations that may or may not require a police response. As a first step to preventing crime at Wellesley College, please program our phone numbers, 781.283.2121 and 781.283.5555 (emergency) into your cell phones.
What is “Suspicious?”
Suspicious is anything that seems "out of place," however slight, for the time of day in which it occurs. Examples of situations to be aware of and report to us are:
- Strangers entering your neighbor's room when it is unoccupied.
- Anyone attempting to open doors to see if they are locked.
- Persons entering or leaving an academic office area after hours.
- Loud screams, anywhere and anytime. They may mean an assault, a rape, or a robbery is in progress.
- The sound of breaking glass or other loud, explosive noises. An accident, burglary, or vandalism may have occurred.
- Persons around bicycle racks carrying bolt cutters, pipes, or other tools.
- A person running-especially one carrying something of value-could be leaving the scene of a crime.
- Large, unauthorized gatherings in common spaces (indoors or outdoors)
- Unidentified people lurking around the campus buildings or in parking lots
- Unescorted males in the residence halls
While some of the situations described above could have innocent explanations, the Wellesley College Police department would rather have the opportunity to investigate a potential crime, than to be called when it’s too late.
Crime prevention is much more than room security and personal safety. It includes engaging the entire campus community in the business of public safety.
"A pattern of attitudes and behaviors directed both at reducing the threat of crime and enhancing the sense of safety and security to positively influence the quality of life in our society and to help develop environments where crime cannot flourish."
Crime prevention is:
- Everyone's business
- More than security
- A responsibility of all levels of college community
- Linked with solving social problems
Crime prevention requires:
- A central position in campus policing
- Cooperation by everyone in the community
- Tailoring to specific needs and conditions
- Continual testing and improvement
Crime prevention improves:
- The quality of life for every member of the Wellesley College community
- The quality of experience for every visitor to Wellesley College
Securing your vehicle can be one of the most important jobs in your effort to protect your personal belongings. Theft of stereos and other valuables from cars is a prevalent crime during late night hours.
In order to reduce the likelihood of your car being "ripped off," the Wellesley College Police Department offers the following tips:
- First, consider the installation of an ignition "kill" switch or a fuel cutoff valve. These range in price from $30 to $75 and are recommended for even older model cars.
- Try to avoid parking in large, subterranean, or covered parking areas at night. They usually provide a risk-free environment for car thieves. Whenever possible, park where there is good lighting and in a spot that is visible to potential eyewitnesses.
- Do not store valuables in your car, even in the trunk. Thieves often will force open trunks especially at shopping centers and beach parking lots.
- The installation of an alarm system that detects glass breakage can protect most car stereos from theft. Make sure that you can adjust the sensitivity so that false alarms will be eliminated.
Although burglary and theft leave emotional and financial effects, violent crimes such as homicide, rape, assault, and robbery have a much greater impact on our life and our feelings about our vulnerability. Our inherent fear of a violent confrontation causes most of us to make everyday decisions based on our personal safety. "Is this a safe neighborhood?" or "Is it safe to take a walk at night?" are frequent questions that reflect a concern controlling our behavior. How can we minimize our fear of violent crime? What steps can be taken to actually reduce our vulnerability to crimes such as street robbery? The following will shed some light on these questions.
- Plan ahead so that when you walk you are visible to other people. This means if you must walk alone, choose open, well-lit, and well-traveled areas. Crooks do not like to strike where eyewitnesses can provide the police with a detailed account. Leave your purse at home if possible. If you must carry one, hold it firmly, close to your body. Purse-snatchers prefer to grab from behind.
- If you walk or jog, especially at night, consider getting a dog that can accompany you. Criminal offenders relate that a dog is one of the most effective crime deterrents.
- If you work late hours, arrange to leave at the same time as a co-worker. Try to avoid parking far away from your work site. Be aware of your surroundings at all times by making eye contact with passers-by and glancing occasionally behind you. This type of "body language" will make you less attractive to a prospective mugger. If you sense that you are being followed, change directions or cross the street. If the person persists, run to the nearest place where you'll find people. DO NOT allow a stranger to follow you to your doorstep. Go to a public place where you can call the police whenever you feel threatened. When fleeing from danger, alert others as well as the person posing a threat.
- Avoid fumbling for your keys; have them in your hand as you approach your car.
- Always check the back seat before getting inside.
- Keep enough gas in the tank so you will not get stranded. Keep all doors locked and windows rolled up.
- Stay on well-traveled, well-lit roads.
- If you are being followed by another car, drive into an open gas station, stay in your car, and ask the attendant to call the police or drive straight to the nearest police station for assistance.
- Park only in well-lit areas at night.
- Check for strangers who might be "casing" the area before you exit your car. Honk your horn and drive away if such a person advances toward you.
- If you are "rear-ended" by another vehicle, motion for the driver to follow you to a public place. "Bump and rob" artists stage such accidents to lure unsuspecting drivers out of their cars to rob them of their wallet or purse. If a driver will not follow you, obtain as thorough a description as you can and report the incident to the police.
- If your car breaks down, seek a phone or call box only if safe to do so. Place a "Call Police" banner in your rear window and raise the hood. If a "good Samaritan" approaches, crack a window and ask them to call the police or your tow company.
Crime Prevention in the Dorms
- Always keep the door(s) to your residence and the windows that are accessible from the outside locked.
- Always lock your door when you are sleeping
- Never put your name, room number or address on key rings.
- Do not leave messages on your door indicating that you are away and when you will return.
- Keep emergency numbers by your phone or programmed into your cell phone.
- If you lose your keys or student ID, report the loss immediately.
- Know who your RA’s and hall mates/neighbors are.
- Do not study alone in secluded areas.
- If you receive obscene or harassing telephone calls or several calls with no one on the other end, notify the Wellesley College Police. Keep a time and date record of the calls.
- Do not let strangers enter or “Piggy Back” their way into a residence hall.
- If you find that your room has been entered, DON'T GO INSIDE OR TOUCH ANYTHING! Call the police immediately.
- If you find an intruder inside your room, day or night, DO NOT confront or attempt to apprehend the person. Get out of the room and call the police.
- Avoid bringing large amounts of cash or other valuables to campus.
- Always keep items of value out of sight.
- NEVER PROP OPEN EXTERIOR DOORS
- Keep a record of serial numbers of computers, printers, televisions, and other valuable possessions.
- If your wallet is lost or stolen, notify the three major credit reporting companies that your identification has been stolen. They can stop anyone from obtaining instant credit on your credit line:
Trans Union 1-800-680-7289
- If you find yourself in immediate danger, call 781-283-5555 on campus, or 911 off campus. Try to stay calm and get away at the first opportunity.
The potential for crime exists everywhere, but by following the suggestions outlined here, you can substantially reduce the possibility of becoming a victim.
- Check for signs of forced entry such as broken glass, a torn screen or pry marks before venturing inside.
- Make it a habit to leave a few dollars out in the open near your entry way. Back out quietly if you see the money is gone.
- NEVER feel reluctant to call the police if you sense the possibility of an intruder inside.
- Screen all strangers knocking at your door. Interview them through a one-way peephole while your door is locked. Anyone who refuses to present his or her driver's license or employee I.D. upon request should be reported to the police.
- Properly secure all openings at nighttime. "Cat burglars" are deterred when the only means of gaining entry would require breaking glass or smashing a door. Don't assume that upper floor windows are too high for a burglar's reach.
If You are a Victim
Some confrontations are unavoidable. When you consider that 4 out of 10 violent crime victimizations by strangers involve an armed offender, it is vital that you be prepared to minimize your risk of injury.
- Be willing to give up your valuables. A purse, wallet or jewelry is not worth fighting for when facing someone wielding a weapon.
- Carry only as much cash as you need.
- If confronted, try to stay calm. An assailant will be less likely to attack you if you appear controlled and self-confident. Try to mentally note your assailant's appearance without staring.
- Use physical self-defense techniques only as a last resort to protect yourself when attacked.
- Go to the phone and dial 911 as soon as possible. Let the police operator take charge and instruct you.
Remember, your quick actions in notifying the police will increase their chance of apprehending the suspect and preventing future victims.
Being the victim of a violent crime can have lasting emotional effects. If you are a victim, do not suppress your feelings of anger or frustration. If you are the friend or relative of a victim, lend your emotional support by being available to listen.
Bicycle Safety and Security
- Nearly all bicycle-related deaths involve head trauma and possible death. Here are some tips to help keep you safe while you bike:
- Inspect your bicycle before going for a ride:
- Check your handlebars, bicycle seats and brakes.
- Check your tire pressure.
- Check your first aid pouch for fresh supplies.
- Check your reflectors and light.
- Inspect your bicycle helmet and be sure to wear it. If you are under 18, it is required by law. Be sure it meets with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Snell Memorial
- Foundation. Stickers with these labels will be inside helmets that have passed their testing standards.
- Ride on the right, with traffic. Use a bike lane where available. Bicycles are not permitted on sidewalks. You can cause injury to pedestrians.
- Obey all traffic laws and signals.
- Use hand signals for turning and for all stops.
- Watch for road hazards. Watch for cars in driveways. Use extra caution in poor or wet weather.
- Children should not ride a bicycle at night.
- Register your bicycle with the police department and keep the serial/model number on file.
- Always lock your bicycle using a quality lock, securing both wheels and the frame to a stationary object.
- Engrave your drivers license number (or your parents') on the frame for identification.
- Wear safe, comfortable clothes.
- Be considerate to all and give your bicycle regular check-ups.
Date rape is a misleading term which describes a serious crime that is misunderstood and under-reported. Rape, regardless who commits it, is a felony sexual assault that leaves the victim injured and traumatized. Victims of rape, especially when committed by an acquaintance, often feel a sense of responsibility for the attack and don't report the crime to the police. Acquaintance rape is fostered by the common sex role stereotype that men should be competitive and aggressive while women should be yielding and passive. Experts advise women to be open and assertive from the start to prevent any misunderstanding with their date.
- The following tips may help you to avoid being the victim of a sexual assault:
- Stay sober on a date. Alcohol impairs judgment and memory. A victim of rape who was intoxicated may have her credibility attacked in court.
- Drive your own car and ask to meet your date in a public place—if he hesitates, don't waiver. If you do accept a ride from a date, always carry enough money so that you can call a cab if you need to cut the date short.
- For men, if the woman says "no" take her for her word. Never assume she is playing "hard to get" or that she means "maybe".
- For women, if you mean no, say so and be prepared to assert your refusal if your date persists. Learn self-defense techniques that provide you with an option if you are attacked.
- If you are raped, report the crime immediately to the police. Many victims delay for days or even weeks to report the attack. This makes it difficult to catch and successfully prosecute the offender. After reporting to the police, share what happened with close friends and family—those people who can offer emotional support to help you cope with such a crisis.
- If you do not feel comfortable reporting the crime to police you may fill out an Anonymous Report of Sexual Assault form and have it delivered to campus police.