Now that fall has arrived and it’s becoming darker earlier in the evening, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding all community members to practice personal safety habits when walking or biking around the University’s campuses, including:
- Use lighted, well-traveled paths and walkways. University of Rochester property also has Blue Light emergency phones that connect directly to Public Safety dispatchers. Look for the same when traveling off property, such as the pedestrian path along Plymouth Avenue. Report unsafe conditions, such as brush overgrowth or broken lights on campus to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Pay attention to signage indicating operating hours for parks, trails, and pedestrian bridges; most are closed from dusk until dawn. Do not use wooded or unlighted areas for walking, jogging or biking after dusk.
- Walk in pairs and let others know your destination and when to expect your return. Use a smartphone tracking app for safety. Many of these apps can track your location and send out alerts to trusted contacts as you make your way to your destination.
- Don’t hesitate to call or text Public Safety 585-275-3333 if you see anything that concerns you, or if you see a crime in progress. The phone and text lines are monitored 24 hours a day.
- Pay attention and don’t be distracted. Criminals often target the “digitally distracted,” those who are talking, texting or listening to music on their phone while walking and are generally unaware of their surroundings.
- Use Safe Ride. The Safe Ride service provides safe and reliable transportation between River Campus and University residential locations, including the Riverview Apartments, between the hours of 11 pm and 4 am, seven days a week (excluding breaks and UR holidays). Safe Ride is made possible through the Students’ Association in collaboration with DPS and the Department of Transportation & Parking Management.
- Prior to attending an event or party, have a plan for who you are leaving with and how you are getting home. When using a ridesharing service:
- Before you get in the car, check that the license plate, driver photo, and driver name all match what is listed in the app. Never get in a car with a driver who claims to be with Uber or another service and offers a ride.
- Ask the driver, “Who are you here to pick up?” Let them tell you YOUR NAME before you enter the vehicle.
- Be a good bystander. If you’re with someone requesting a ride with a rideshare app who may be impaired, help them double-check the driver and the car before they get in the vehicle.
- Don’t allow anyone you don’t know to follow you into your residential building. If they come in and you feel unsafe, call or text Public Safety.
- Be aware of pedestrians and bicyclists. Pedestrians crossing at the crosswalks have the right of way, but they need to first be sure that an oncoming vehicle is stopping for them. And bicyclists need to follow the rules of the road, including crossing with the light at crosswalks. Sharing the road can be challenging, so please stay alert, especially at night.
University Community members will notice DPS providing a high visibility presence in River Campus parking lots, particularly as classes end for the evening, as well as in the areas where undergraduate students live. Public Safety is open to all suggestions to improve safety.
“Please connect with us; we are listening,” said Gerald Pickering, interim DPS chief. “You can also call us and meet with an officer to discuss your personal safety concerns, or register your group or club for one of our safety presentations.”
Visit https://www.rochester.edu/public-safety for more tips and information, and https://www.rochester.edu/public-safety/services/training/ for the training and presentation offerings available.