Safety Tips

Located in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California in the heart of a leading metropolis. Home to about 3.8 million people, Los Angeles, is one of the most populous urban cities in the world. Although Los Angeles indexes above the average in The Economist’s Safe Cities Index, navigating any city calls for specific safety precautions along with practicing common sense.

1. Stay aware of your surroundings.

Unplug headphones and avoid using your smartphone while walking from place to place. While listening to music or surfing the web, you’re distracted from what’s going on around you. You can avoid most potentially dangerous situations by observing and recognizing them in advance.

2. Make a mental note of blue light phone locations.

The University Park has multiple blue light phones that are strategically placed throughout campus. Take note of where the closest ones are on your route. They come in handy in case you lose your phone or in an emergency. These phones are directly connected to USC’s Department of Public Safety’s 24-hour communications center. Besides emergency needs, it can also be used to report suspicious activity, request an escort if you feel unsafe and to report a crime.

3. Plan smart and varied routes.

Pick routes that are well-lit and populated and switch up your routine. Knowing alternative routes to your usual destinations is a good practice. Be sure to study USC’s Campus Map, so you have a basic orientation of where you are on campus at all times.

4. Don’t walk alone at night.

Employ a buddy system when walking, especially when walking in isolated areas or at night. Walkthrough well-lit and busy thoroughfares and stay away from areas where people can hide. On occasions when you can’t avoid traveling alone, USC’s LiveSafe App has a useful SafeWalk function that allows friends to monitor each other when someone is en route to a destination. It’s a free app and is available for download on your smartphone. USC Transportation also offers shuttles to popular destinations, Safewalk services, and Campus Cruiser, a safe ride program that is supplemented by rideshare services through Lyft. Watch our video for safety tips when using Lyft rideshare.

5. Lock your doors, even when you’re home.

Practicing safety is practicing common sense. You should always lock doors and windows whenever you’re leaving but also when you’re at home alone or asleep in a residence hall or apartment.

6. Keep valuables out of sight.

Many crimes are “crimes of opportunity.” Keep valuables (phones, tablets, laptops) out of sight and out of reach by putting them away when you’re not using them. When carrying them with you, keep them stowed out of sight in your bag or pocket. Never leave your laptop unattended, even at the library. Consider registering phones with a third-party tracking service to aid in recovery in the event of loss/theft, and using a cable lock on laptops.

7. Always carry back-up cash.

Although credit and debit cards have become commonplace in our lives, it’s still good practice to keep emergency cash handy at all times. Store your emergency cash away from where you usually keep your money and credit cards. Keep a $20 bill in your car dashboard, tucked into the pocket of your purse, or on your dresser at home. You never know when you’ll need it.

8. Don’t get caught at a party alone.

Having fun and attending parties is a part of the college experience, but you can still be responsible about your night. When attending a party, make sure you’re going with at least one person you trust. Agree to regularly check on each other throughout the night and don’t leave without one another. When leaving, try to go with a larger group or call Campus Cruiser to get you home safely.

9. Keep track of how much alcohol you’re drinking, so you’re always in control.

It’s easier to be taken advantage of when you aren’t fully present because you’re under the influence. Know your limits and abide by them. If consuming alcohol, open or mix your own drinks and don’t leave them unattended. Drink water between rounds, and never drink anything that’s just handed to you.

10. Put emergency contacts on speed dial.

Create a list of contacts of people you trust and create a speed dial for each of them on your smartphone. This list can include:

  • your parents
  • your roommate or closest friend
  • neighbors and landlord or RA
  • the Department of Public Safety
  • Campus Cruiser

Besides allowing you to call the people who can help in various situations quickly, your emergency contact list is one of the first things hospitals check in case you are admitted. Download important USC emergency numbers into your contacts.

11. Sign up for a self-defense course.

DPS provides a free self-defense course to USC students. The Department of Physical Education also offers a self-defense class.

12. Beware of scammers.