Staying Safe

The Lawrence campus is centered within a medium-sized Midwestern town where the university significantly influences the surrounding community in many ways. At the same time, the campus is a defined, self-contained community in itself. College campuses, in general, are a unique environments that each person will experience in their own way. Whether you come to KU from a big city, a small town, from within the United States or abroad, following simple guidelines will help you feel more confident and stay safer while you're here.

Tips for Staying Safer On and Off Campus

Safety on Campus and in Town

  • Be aware of your surroundings — Being alert when traveling on campus can help protect you from being the victim of a crime or accident. Phones are an alluring but dangerous distraction that can divert our attention and put us in harm's way.
  • Know where help is — On frequently traveled routes, note the location of campus blue phones (see below) and where other help might be available (e.g., buildings or businesses with late night hours).
  • Share information — Make sure someone knows where you'll be and when you expect to return home.
  • Use the buddy system — There is safety in numbers. Walk with a friend or group, especially at night.
  • Request a KU Security Escort — KU Security Officers are available for safety escorts from campus facilities to parking lots or to on-campus living facilities by calling 785-864-5900.  
  • Call KU SafeRideSafeRide provides a safe ride home for KU students at night. A SafeRide driver will pick up passengers anywhere on campus or in Lawrence and drive them home within city limits.
  • Park in well-lit areas — Whenever possible, choose parking lots, and spots within lots, that are brightly lit.
  • Trust your instincts — If you feel uncomfortable in a situation (e.g., you're being followed or something feels "off," etc.), don’t ignore that inner warning. Get to a safe environment or call for help.

Safety at Home

  • Lock your doors and windows — Theft is one of the most prevalent crimes on any campus. Make a habit of locking your residence hall, apartment or office door, even if you're leaving "for just a minute." It also is a good idea to lock your residence hall or apartment door when you're home, particularly at night. And, don't forget to lock your car doors when parking.
  • Change the locks when possible — Ask your landlord to change or re-key all locks when moving into a new apartment or house. Previous tenants could have made and still have copies of keys.
  • Make sure the property is safe — Make sure that hallways, entrances, laundry facilities and grounds are well-lit. Ask your landlord to install additional lighting or other security measures, if needed. Landlords should have a vested interest in the security of their properties.
  • Know who's knocking — Never open the door without first checking to see who is there. Repair persons, salespeople, police and survey takers carry identification. Ask to see it before letting them in.
  • Privacy and protection — Close shades or curtains after dark.
  • Never try to hide a spare key — If you think of someplace as a "good hiding place" for a key, odds are so will a thief. Give a spare key to a friend, relative or trusted neighbor.
  • Keep your keys anonymous — Don't attach your name or address to your key ring. Your keys have no value unless someone knows where to to use them.

Safety in Social Settings

  • Don't drink too much — Too much alcohol makes you vulnerable by lowering your inhibitions and eroding your ability to assess potentially dangerous situations.
  • Meet in public — When meeting someone you don't know (or don't know well) for the first time, choose a public place.
  • Make people earn your trust — Acquaintance and date rape occurs more frequently on college campuses than does rape by strangers. About 84 percent of rape survivors knew their attackers. Spend time socializing in a group situations. Take plenty of time to build a relationship and develop trust.
  • Protect each other — Go out with people you trust. Watch over each other and agree to leave together.
  • Guard your drink — Don't leave your drink unattended. If you head to the dance floor, the bathroom or outside, take your drink or pour it out.
  • It's OK to be rude — If someone is making you uncomfortable, or you are feeling pressured or threatened, get out of the situation immediately. You don't need to make excuses or explain. Get help from a friend, a bouncer or call police, if necessary.

Your Role in a Safe Community

Campus safety is a community effort. We encourage all students, faculty, staff and campus visitors to report suspicious or illegal activities. KU employees are obligated under KU's Crime Reporting policy to notify appropriate law enforcement agencies of known or suspected criminal actions that occur on property owned or operated by the university or in conjunction with a university-sponsored event or activity.

Campus Emergency Phones

Emergency phones are located in areas of high pedestrian traffic throughout the campus and in all elevators. The phones call directly in to the KU Police Department's Emergency Communications Center. A KU Police Officer is immediately dispatched to that location, regardless of whether the caller speaks into the phone or not.
Yellow emergency phone box on blue pole that says "Emergency Phone" on north end of Jayhawk Blvd.

Video Presence on Campus

Closed circuit television (CCTV) is installed on campus to help provide a safer environment for students, faculty and staff by deterring crime, enhancing personal safety and protecting property. The system allows for information about dangerous or suspicious activities to be gathered in real-time and relayed to responding police officers and other emergency services personnel about the nature of an incident. In addition, the system can be used to help solve crimes through review and analysis of recorded video and sharing of relevant images with the public.

KU policy outlines the responsible use of video technologies and stipulates that "use of video technology for security purposes will be conducted in a professional, ethical and legal manner consistent with federal, state and local laws, and university policy."