Department of Public Safety

Safety Tips

Crime prevention involves the ability to recognize crime risks and the action taken to reduce and eliminate that risk. 

Although most of the safety tips provided below are practical, common-sense tips, we believe everyone has the ability to contribute to their own personal safety, as well as the safety of the Brown community. Criminals focus on the "opportunity" to attack. Do not make yourself an easy target.

  • Trust your instincts. You know that feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach when you think something is wrong? Pay attention to it, and act appropriately.
  • Be alert to your surroundings and other people. If you hear the same footsteps behind you, don't be afraid to take a quick glance over your shoulder, and change your direction of travel. Walk into a nearby business or building that is occupied by many people to divert a possible criminal. Criminals do not like to victimize individuals in witness-rich environments. If at all possible, avoid putting yourself in isolated areas.
  • Stay in populated, well-lit areas.
  • You are safest if you see fighting as a last resort. Your safest choice is to use awareness and intuition to avoid possible trouble. Use your verbal skills to defuse a situation.
  • Display an aware, confident attitude. Attackers case out their victims. Walk with your head up, and stay alert.
  • If at all possible, do not walk alone at night. If you must walk alone, let a friend know of your estimated time of arrival and return to and from a location. Familiarize yourself with the Brown University Shuttle (B.U.S) shuttle stop locations across campus. The service runs from 5 p.m. – 3 a.m EST and 7 p.m. – 3 a.m. EDT., 7 days a week during the academic year. Call for a Safewalk across campus between the hours of 9 p.m-2:15 a.m., Sunday through Thursday by calling (401) 863-1079 during the academic year.
  • When on campus, familiarize yourself with the locations of our Blue Light Emergency Phones. These phones are located on most University buildings, walkways, and all residential halls. Call us if you are feeling uneasy, or if you feel you are being followed.
  • Keep a secure grip on your purse or bag, and close to your body. Do not allow it to dangle. Keep fastners and zippers closed. However, if threatened by a demand for your purse, do not choose your purse over your personal safety and wellbeing. If you are a victim of a purse snatch, act quickly and contact the police with a description of the subject and direction of travel.
  • Have direct eye contact with strangers approaching you. This eye contact does not need to be prolonged, just long enough to send the message, "I see you and I can report your description." Eliminate the possible element of surprise.
  • Avoid walking through groups of people that appear rowdy or antagonistic.
  • Be aware of scams. Be cautious with strangers who ask for directions, or money. As innocent as these encounters may seem, these interactions may be an attempt to draw you near to be victimized. Never let your guard down. Remember to keep a good distance between yourself and the inquiring individual. Answer with brief, firm statements. Never allow yourself to be isolated by a stranger.
  • When in doubt, bring attention to yourself and a potential criminal, YELL. You may also yell "FIRE", or "HELP". It's okay to feel a little embarrassed afterward. Make the choice, is it better to be embarrassed or victimized?  
  • Do not resist. We understand and respect that the decision to resist is a personal choice.  However, we suggest compliance in a situation where a subject threatens to use, or displays, a firearm when attempting to rob you of your property. Comply, give up the belongings demanded, go to a safe space and immediately call DPS at (401) 863-4111.
  • Have your keys ready upon approaching your parked vehicle. When approaching your vehicle, scan the rear seat and even underneath your car. Lock your car doors as soon as you get inside.

Have other safety concerns? Check out these resources.

One of the most common forms of theft on college campuses is the theft of bicycles. The DPS hosts regular events to help you keep your bike safe and strongly recommends the use of U-lock when securing your bike on campus.
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Laptops are a target of campus theft due to their high value. Take these precautions to keep your laptop, and the information stored on it, safe.
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Living off-campus means reduced police presence, making residents more vulnerable to theft. Take the necessary precautions to protect your residence.
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Brown community members who use cars should follow certain steps to avoid theft of personal items within the car as well as stay safe while entering cars or parking areas.
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Move-in day happens every year, and it is a special time for new students to get acquainted with the campus. Consider these tips to prevent theft and start the year off right.
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Awareness is the best defense against scams. Learn the signs and contact the Department of Public Safety if you have been the victim of a scam.
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