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Safety Tips

1. Familiarize yourself with our Police Department.

Western Kentucky University has its very own police department, and part of your tuition funds it. Make the most of this resource by utilizing our services. You can contact us day or night, but we also encourage you visit us shortly after you begin your career here on the hill.

 Next Step: Call or visit our department and request information about the programs we offer. You may find helpful to know that we offer the the following services and encourage you to take full advantage of them:

  • Blue light emergency phone stations
  • Campus escort services
  • Campus map that shows the location of each of our emergency phones
  • Self Defense classes
  • Campus Violence Prevention Training
  • Rave Guardian App
  • Motor Vehicle Assistance


2. Take extra precaution at night.

On average, sexual assaults and other crimes are more likely to occur at night and while you shouldn’t scare yourself into assuming danger is around every corner, you also shouldn’t take unnecessary risks, such as walking alone at night. Instead, use the buddy system or call campus police at 270.745.3333 for an escort to any location within the campus perimeter.

*NOTE: This is typically a walking escort. This is just as much your campus as it is any other student, faculty, or staff member and we want students to feel comfortable walking around within their own community.


3. Always lock up.

Just as you wouldn’t leave your house without locking the front door, don’t leave your residence hall or apartment without locking up — even if you’re planning on only being gone a few minutes. If you live on the first floor, close your windows and either shut the blinds or hide your valuables out of plain view any time you leave.

Next Step: Purchase a small safe or dedicate a drawer for storing your laptop, iPad, and other valuables when you’re away from your room. If you use a safe, keep it hidden in a closet. If you live on the first floor of a building, make sure your windows lock.


4. Maintain privacy on social media.

Social media is a great platform for connecting with friends and family worldwide or sharing updates about your life. However, with everything you post, stay aware of who else could be viewing your profile. Avoid geotagging your photos, as it reveals your location to strangers, and don’t publicly announce when you’re home alone or are leaving your home unattended. To disable geotagging on your iphone and ipad devices, click this link. For android devices, follow this link.

Next Step: Review the settings on each of your social media profiles. Disable location services, make your accounts private, and think twice before sharing anything. Remember: once something gets posted on the Internet, it’s tough to remove it entirely.

For more information on keeping your accounts secure, read through our Social Media Safety Guide.


5. Be careful when getting into your car.

Most people don’t think to look in their backseat or under the car before getting behind the wheel. A predator could potentially be hiding in one of those locations, however, especially if you tend to leave your car unlocked or keep your windows rolled down. When walking to your car, approach at an angle that allows you to see around the vehicle, and check the back seat before opening the door. Always have your keys out and ready prior to reaching your vehicle. You should always lock your car doors, even while inside.

Next Step: Lock your car doors and engage your car alarm every time you leave your car, even if you’re running just a quick errand. If your car doesn’t have an alarm feature, this Aftermarket Car Alarm Comparison can help you find a reliable alarm option.


6. Know where you’re going.

Whenever you set out to town or class, make sure you know where you’re heading and how to get there. Walk with confidence and avoid looking confused, even when you’re trying to navigate a new location. If you’re in an unfamiliar area, don’t use headphones or let your phone distract you. Focus on finding your destination.

Next Step: Download the iWKU App onto your phone and use your GPS to find popular, highly trafficked routes to get to your destination. You can also take a virtual tour of the WKU campus. Always try to avoid walking along deserted paths, and when in doubt, stick to the routes with which you’re most familiar — even if they take a little longer.


7. Understand your campus’ and city’s crime.

The more you know about the crime in your local area, the better you can prevent similar incidents from happening to you. Here you can view our Annual Campus Security Report that provides on-campus crime statistics, including the type of offense and whether or not the crime occurred on or off campus.

Next Step: You can also research reported on-campus crimes by visiting the U.S. Department of Education. If you have specific concerns or questions not addressed by the site, contact our police department for more information. Use a site like City-Data.com to learn more about the crime within a particular city.


8. Learn how to defend yourself.

There’s nothing more empowering than knowing how to protect yourself physically. You’ll feel safer and more confident, especially if you live or travel alone. You don’t need a black belt in karate to master self-defense; all you need are a few classes and tips from a professional instructor. There are several types and styles of classes from which to choose, depending on your interests. We offer self-defense classes at no cost to our campus community. For more information, contact Public Information Officer Melissa Bailey by phone at 270-745-3470 or by email at melissa.bailey@wku.edu.

Next Step: We also encourage you to sign up for a self-defense class in your area, such as Krav Maga or jiu jitsu. These classes are often available at colleges and gyms. If you’re feeling shy or nervous, ask a few friends to take the class with you.


9. Have safety and security supplies readily accessible.

Pepper spray, a whistle, or other non-lethal weapons are all useful personal safety supplies you can put put in your bag or backpack when you are out. never underestimate the function of these small items. They may make a life-saving difference in harmful situations.

Next Step: Pack your chosen safety supplies into a small kit, and fasten the kit on a key ring, lanyard, or backpack. These items should be easy to grab at any time, as they won’t do you much good if they’re buried at the bottom of your bag.

College is an incredible and rewarding experience. But as busy as you’ll be with adjusting to independence, new classes, and new friends, don’t forget to stay safe and maintain awareness. Following these nine simple steps can significantly increase your chances of having a safe and successful school year. Go Tops!


Please remember that unreported crimes cannot be solved and by not reporting crimes, you allow the perpetrators to commit additional and perhaps more serious crimes. Many times crime solving depends upon how accurately and promptly the incident is reported.


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 Last Modified 5/31/22