Safety Planning

Safety Planning on a College Campus

(Adapted from RAINN: Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network)

How to get away if there is an emergency

  • Be conscious of exits or other escape routes.
  • Think about options for transportation (car, bus, train, etc.).

Who can help

Where to go

  • Friend’s residence hall room or apartment
  • Relative’s house
  • Local domestic violence shelter: Safe Passage, DeKalb, IL
  • NIU Police and Public Safety (even if staff members know both you and the perpetrator—they are still responsible for your protection)
  • Important Safety Note: If the dangerous situation involves a partner, go to the police or a shelter first.

What to bring

  • Important papers and documents: birth certificate, social security card, license, passport, medical records, bills, etc.
  • House or residence hall room keys, car keys, cash, credit cards, medicine, important numbers, cell phone.
    • If you are preparing to leave, keep all of the above-mentioned items in an emergency bag. Hide the bag somewhere safe; it is best if not in the house or your car. If the bag is discovered by the perpetrator, you can call the bag a “hurricane,” “tornado,” or “fire” bag to keep the reason for the bag anonymous.

Traveling around campus

  • Walking
    • Make sure your cell phone is easily accessible and fully charged.
    • Be familiar with where emergency phones are installed on the campus.
    • Be aware of open buildings where you can use a phone.
    • Take major, public paths rather than less populated shortcuts.
    • Avoid dimly lit places and notify Plysical Plant staff if lights need to be installed in an area.
    • Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking alone.
    • Walking back from the library very late at night is sometimes unavoidable, so try to walk with a friend.
    • Carry a noisemaker (like a whistle) on your key chain.
    • Carry a small flashlight on your key chain.
    • If walking feels unsafe, call campus security. NIU offers a Late Night Ride Service at 815-753-2222 between 10pm and 6am.
  • Driving
    • Keep your doors locked.
    • Store extra car necessities in your car (oil, jumper cables, etc.).
    • Try not to wait until the last minute to fill your gas tank; always keep it at least half full if you can.
    • Have your keys ready when you go to unlock your car.
  • Taking the bus
    • Be alert at bus stops when waiting for the bus to arrive.
    • Use the bus schedule to avoid waiting for a long time at a stop.
    • Plan your route to use the busiest, best-lit bus stop possible.
    • If someone is bothering you on the bus, tell the driver.
    • If you feel uneasy about getting off at your usual stop, stay on the bus and get off at the next stop or inform the bus driver of your uneasiness so he or she can contact the police.

Residence hall safety

  • Keep your room door locked at all times (do not allow entrance into your room by someone you do not know and trust). 
  • Do not give your room key to anyone else. 
  • Keep your window locked (especially if it is easy to enter from the ground).
  • Never prop open or alter the locking mechanism on any door (if you see this, un-prop it and/or report it immediately to the hall staff).
  • If your residence hall has an elevator, try to stay near the button panel when are you riding in it so that you have easy access to the emergency button. Also, if you feel threatened, you can push the button for the next floor and leave immediately instead of waiting for the elevator to reach the floor where you live; once there, inform the CA on that floor of your emergency.
  • Avoid isolated areas (stairways, laundry rooms, basement, etc.) when you are alone.
  • Personally observe all building security regulation,s including using appropriate entrances and carrying identification for building entrance at night.
  • Immediately report any security system violation or hazard, such as a person on your floor who is not a floor resident or escorted guest, suspicious looking individuals in or around the residence halls, solicitors, propped doors, etc.
  • Don’t let people you don’t know on to your floor.
  • Use appropriate caution, especially at night or at times of low traffic, when going to remote or dimly lit areas in or around the residence halls (basements, laundry rooms, parking lots, loading dock areas, etc.)
  • NIU Residence Hall Safety
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