Safety Tips

Whether you are at home or out and about, you need to stay alert. Here are a few simple tips that will help keep you safe.

Keeping safe while…

Walking

  • Plan your way in advance. Choose well-traveled routes. Use discretion when talking or walking with strangers, even if they are offering you help or assistance. Always keep moving toward your destination. Walk with purpose.
  • When possible, try to travel with friends, whether it is daytime or evening. Just remember: There is safety in numbers.
  • Avoid deserted areas. Do not cut through parks, alleys, and vacant lots at night.
  • If you think you are being followed, cross the street, change direction, or go to a public place where others are present.
  • If a person confronts you and demands your money or possessions, give what is demanded and create a safe distance.
  • Keep alert. Don’t let a conversation on your cell phone or the use of headphones make you unaware of your surroundings.
  • Use caution when using automated teller machines (ATMs). Select one located in a busy, well-lighted area. Plan ahead so you are not forced to find a machine in an unfamiliar part of town.

Bicycling

Safety and the law

  • The same laws that apply to motorists in Illinois apply to cyclists. For your safety and the safety of others, obey all traffic lights, signs, and markings.
  • Illinois law requires every bicycle in use at night to be equipped with a white light lamp on the front, visible from a distance of 500 feet, and a red reflector or red light on the rear, visible from a distance of 600 feet.
  • No person 12 years of age or over is permitted to ride a bicycle on any sidewalk in Chicago unless it is designated and marked as a bicycle route.
  • Be visible. Wear brightly colored clothing. Wear a reflective vest or flashing light so you are visible to motorists at night.

Bicycle theft prevention

  • Register your bike at the UCPD dispatch center at 6054 S. Drexel Avenue. Call UCPD at 773-702-8181 for information.
  • Use a “horseshoe” lock to secure your bike to a bike rack. Leave minimal space between the lock and the bicycle, making theft harder. Keep the lock off the ground to avoid it being smashed or used as leverage.
  • Do not lock your bicycle to a sign pole or parking meter. The bike can easily be hoisted over the sign or meter.
  • Always remove “quick release” front wheel or bicycle seat and secure to the wheel or frame.
  • Bicycles should be properly secured and stored inside when possible.
  • Immediately report suspicious persons and activities around bike racks.
  • Use a “horseshoe” lock to secure your bike to appropriate structures such as bike racks, signposts, or iron fences. Avoid chaining a bicycle to banisters or handrails; it is a safety hazard.
  • Register your bike with University Police; they will provide you with a numbered identification sticker and put it on record with the Chicago Police Department.

Using public transportation

  • Avoid isolated bus or train stops and times when few other people are around.
  • Keep your belongings on your lap if possible.

Driving

  • Keep your car locked and use a steering wheel locking device or car alarm.
  • Keep purses and packages out of view.
  • If your car breaks down far from possible sources of help, raise the hood, then stay inside with the doors locked. If someone offers to help, do not open your window or door or accept a ride; ask them to call the police or roadside assistance for you.

At home

  • Lock your door, even if you are leaving just for a few minutes. Do not prop open doors, even for your own or a friend’s convenience. When you leave, be sure to lock your windows as well.
  • Before you leave for a vacation, stop newspaper delivery, have a neighbor pick up your mail, and set your telephone bell to the lowest volume.
  • Don’t admit strangers into your building or apartment. Use a peephole to confirm a visitor’s identity before opening the door. Don’t buzz a visitor into the building unless you are certain who it is.
  • Landlords are legally required to provide adequate hallway lighting and deadbolt locks on individual apartment doors. Window locks are required in some situations. Complain if these things are missing or inadequate. For further information, call the South East Chicago Commission at 773.324.6926.