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August 30, 2013
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

Police chief urges 'situational awareness'

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -"The Slippery Rock University campus and community are safe, but that doesn't mean you should let down your guard. In today's world, everyone has to be aware of their surroundings and on the look out for problems," SRU Police Chief Michael Simmons said.

"We have a 24/365 police presence on campus, and we work hard to ensure the campus is safe. Still, faculty, staff, students and visitors have to remain vigilant to their surroundings. Crime can happen anywhere, and everyone is more vulnerable if they aren't paying attention," he said.

"Many of our University family members come from cities and are probably more attuned to routine safety steps; those from rural areas may a bit more lax, so they need to beef up their overall crime senses," Simmons said. "We term it 'situational awareness," and we urge people to be paying attention about who and what is going on around them - especially at night."

Although SRU has been ranked among the safest campuses in the nation by the Daily Beast, Simmons said people should follow these suggestions:

At night, always walk in lighted areas: avoid alleys or dark streets or rural roads;

Secure backpacks or purses to help avoid a quick grab by a passerby;

Avoid wearing headsets, ear buds, earmuffs while walking at night;

Avoid texting while walking; stay aware of surroundings;

If carrying packages, be sure to retain a good visual of surroundings - lock your car between trips;

Walk in groups when possible;

Be especially alert if using an ATM - if others are lurking around, pick another time;

If ever confronted, give up valuables - they can be replaced (never carry more cash than you want to lose);

Alert others to where you are going and approximately when you will return (especially helpful for late night excursions or returning from a late-night job);

Report any suspicious activity on campus to University Police and any suspicious activity off campus to the location appropriate police agency - Slippery Rock Borough Police or Pennsylvania State Police;

Always, lock suite or apartment doors when leaving, even for a few minutes;

Leave low-power light inside and porch light on for arrival safety (properly store computer, stereo equipment, other valuables out of sight);

If you feel unsafe after being involved in a minor, fender-bender accident, remain in your locked car and use cell phone (or car alert system) to call police;

Use the University Police Tip Line (724.738.2SRU or 724.738.2778) to report suspicious activity or information about a previous crime. Do not use the Tip Line to report a crime in progress; the line only accepts recorded messages and is checked only once a day.

Campus police are available as campus escorts, if needed; call 724.738.3333;

Those driving in the area should slow down, especially on unfamiliar or unlit rural roads, which may have curves, dips and rises or stop signs in unexpected places;

Do not drink and drive;

Avoid excess alcohol that can lead to impaired judgment;

If attending a party, do not leave a glass or bottle unattended - open your own can or bottle; pour your own drink to control the amount of alcohol, and err on the light side.

All members of the University community are urged to sign up for e2Campus alerts. Sign up is available at:

Kristina Chiprean, director the McLachlan Student Health Center, reports the center's policy regarding students who use excess alcohol is to not report anyone who has brought a friend or roommate to the center for treatment unless that person becomes a problem. "We want anyone thinking of possible alcohol poisoning to be treated, because non-treatment can lead to death. We will consider those delivering such a person to the health center as good Samaritans as long as they act responsibly," she said.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.