‘Tis the season to be careful: How to avoid being a crime victim
The holiday season often brings an increase in crime — particularly thefts in the workplace and parking structures. While our security staff provides the first line of detection and prevention in UCOP buildings, we all need to be alert to thwart opportunistic criminals. Protect yourself by following these personal safety tips:
Staying safe in transit and in parking garages
- Take advantage of your building’s Security Escort Program, which will take you to your car either in the garage or along the perimeter of the property. To avoid having to wait when you are ready to leave, call in advance to schedule an escort. Find information about security for UCOP buildings.
- Avoid talking or texting on your phone while walking to your car or out on the street. Stay alert, have your car keys in hand and lock your doors as soon as you get in a car. Avoid sitting in a parked car making phone calls — this makes you a target.
- Refrain from displaying cell phones, laptops, handheld PDAs, iPad or iPods while walking on the street or in the parking garage.
- Don’t leave any items visible in your car, even for a short time — always place them in the trunk and make sure your vehicle is locked. But don’t park, put items in trunk and then walk away — thieves watch for this to know which cars to break into. Put items in before you drive to another location. And remember that thieves don’t know that your backpack or shopping bag only contains dirty gym clothes — any visible bag makes you a target for a broken window.
- Trust your instincts. If something seems unusual or suspicious, report it and let the security professionals check it out.
- Solicitors are not welcome on UCOP property, including in parking structures. Don’t patronize any solicitors you encounter. Instead, notify security for the building.
- If you ride a bike to work and don’t have a secure bike cage to use, consider high security chains and locks such as a U-lock. Don’t allow others to enter a bike cage after you without entering the security code themselves.
- If you have a car problem such as a flat tire or dead battery, you can wait inside the building for help to arrive. Before doing so, make sure your vehicle is locked and secure without any valuables inside. If you wait inside the vehicle, keep the doors locked, and notify security and/or the parking garage attendant about your situation and location. Do not allow unknown persons to assist you.
Safety in the office
- We do everything possible to keep our offices secure. However, you should always keep your valuables in a locked drawer while at work. Unattended cellphones, wallets and laptops are easy targets for opportunistic thieves.
- Acknowledge the presence of any stranger in your work area. Politely ask wandering visitors if you can help them — legitimate guests will appreciate the offer. If someone can’t sufficiently explain why they are in the office, contact building security immediately and provide a description of the person.
If you witness a crime — or are the victim of one
- Stay calm and stay safe. Do not confront the person, especially if you are alone.
- If you are able to do so safely, observe details of the individual’s appearance, car make and license, or other identifying information.
- As soon as you are able, contact police and/or building security (depending on your location). Write down a description of what you saw or dictate it into your cell phone to preserve details while they are fresh.
- Contact UCOP Human Resources if you need help after the incident.