While there is no way to guarantee your safety, there are some things you can do to make yourself less vulnerable. All of this information is to help you reduce your risk and be safer.
Be registered for Mason Alert. Mason Alert is a free alert system that allows George Mason University to contact you during an emergency by sending messages to your: Cell phone, email, pager.
During an emergency, additional information, messages, updates, and resources may be provided on Mason Safety Bulletins website: http://respond.gmu.edu/
Walking on campus or in parking lots
- Keep dorms, rooms, windows and cars locked at all times.
- Have care keys/swipe card ready before you go outside. Have other keys (to house, etc.) ready before you exit the car.
- Remain alert and be aware of your surroundings. Headphones can prevent you from hearing people who might be approaching. Texting, talking on the phone, and other uses of personal electronic devices can also prevent you from being fully aware of your surroundings, and incase our risk of being seen as a potential target.
- Avoid walking alone if you are distracted, upset, or under the influence of any substance that may impair your perceptions or response time.
- Listen for footsteps. Turn around if you think you are being followed and check. If you think you are, cross the street and go quickly to the nearest area where there are other people.
- Carry a whistle and/or pepper spray. Mace is illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- Use well-lit paths. Walk in lighted areas at a steady pace, looking confident. Avoid dark, empty places.
- Keep one hand free when carrying package. Keep things you are caring (purse, packages, etc.) tucked under your arm.
- Keep your car in good running condition. Make sure you have enough gas to get to where you are going and back.
- Check inside and under your care before entering.
- Honk your horn if someone suspicious approaches your car. It’s the loudest and fastest way to scare someone and attract help.
- Trust your instincts. If something feels scary or unsafe, get out of the situation as quickly as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- You do not have to stop when a stranger asks question in a secluded place.
- Be loud and clear if you need help.
To reach campus police, call 703-993-2810. Dialing 9-1-1 will not connect you to the University Police Department. You may way to program 703-993-2810 into your cell phone.
In Residence Halls
Safety in residents halls is a partnership between community members. It is essential to assist in keeping a safe and secure environment for all. Here are some suggestions:
- Keep doors and windows to your residence hall locked – even when you are inside.
- Do not loan out your key. Never compromise your safety for a roommate or friend who wants the door left unlocked. Replace locks when a key is lost or stolen.
- Use caution admitting strangers. Shut doors behind you and avoid piggybacking.
- Have good lighting around entrances.
- Use only your first initials on your mailbox/door and, when possible, in phone directories.
- Report suspicious activity to campus police.
- Know who to contact in an emergency (i.e. Resident Advisor, Resident Director). Have important/emergency contacts handy. You may contact the Office of Housing and Residence Life Central Office @ 703-993-2720 or www.housing.gmu.edu
- Get to know the Office of Housing and Residence life staff members.
- Maintain a clean living environment.
- Know evacuation routes and designated assembly areas.
- Know the list of items that are prohibited and allow in residence halls. See the Guide to Pride for details.
- Update your emergency contact information by clicking here.
- Close blinds and curtains at dusk.
- Doors and windows to your residence hall should be equipped with quality locking mechanisms. Room doors should be equipped with peep holes and deadbolts. Always lock them when you are absent. Do not loan out your key. Rekey locks when a key is lost or stolen.
- Card access systems are far superior to standard metal key and lock systems. Card access enables immediate lock changes when keys are lost, stolen, or when housing assignments change. Most hotels and hospitals have changed to card access systems for safety reasons. Higher education institutions need to adopt similar safety features.
- Always lock your doors and 1st and 2nd floor windows at night. Never compromise your safety for a roommate who asks you to leave the door unlocked.
- Dormitories should have a central entrance/exit lobby where nighttime access is monitored, as well as an outside telephone which visitors must use to gain access.
- Dormitory residents should insist that residential assistants and security patrols routinely check for “propped doors” – day and night.
- Do not leave your identification, wallets, checkbooks, jewelry, cameras, and other valuables in open view.
- Program your phone’s speed dial memory with emergency numbers that include family and friends.
- Know your neighbors and don’t be reluctant to report illegal activities and suspicious loitering.