Staying Safe


Protect Yourself

Being vigilant with respect to personal safety is of the utmost importance. It is critical for everyone to be aware of their surroundings and to take steps to ensure their own safety. Please consider the following:

  • When possible, change your daily routine and routes to class and activities.
  • Tell others where you are going and when you expect to arrive. Download the ISU Guardian app and have a virtual guardian walk you home. 
  • Stick with friends; walk in pairs or groups.
  • Travel in well-lit areas or call Safe Ride to request a ride during evening and overnight hours.
  • Avoid heavily wooded or secluded areas.
  • Carry your phone and ID.
  • Avoid technology distractions.
  • Consider taking a free self-defense course.
  • As always, if you see something, say something. Trust your instincts. If you’re in a situation that just doesn’t feel right, or things seem out of place, call police immediately. Never hesitate.  There is nothing more important to us than your safety.

Other Personal Safety Tips

  • Wear only one earpiece when using a personal listening device.
  • Wear only one backpack shoulder strap when walking at night; avoid wearing a strap over your neck and shoulder.  This prevents an attacker from easily controlling you.
  • Walk with a friend or call SafeRide (515-294-4444).  If you think you are being followed, walk toward a well-lit area or people in the vicinity and call for assistance.
  • Use common sense.
  • Never leave your backpack or other items unattended.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Register and lock your bicycle.  Ride in accordance with traffic and bicycle laws.
  • Practice vehicle safety.
    • Always lock your car and keep doors locked when you are in the vehicle.
    • Have your keys in hand and check the vehicle’s back seat before unlocking and entering.
    • After dark have someone accompany you to your vehicle; park close to your destination if possible.
  • Misuse of alcohol or drugs inhibits your ability to act responsibly or react quickly:
    • Limit your alcohol intake.
    • Avoid combining alcohol with prescription medicines and club drugs; the combination can be dangerous.
    • Never leave your drink unattended or accept a pre-poured drink from a stranger.
    • Buzzed or drunk driving is deadly and illegal; leave your vehicle and find other transportation.  Your life and others’ lives depend upon your decision.
    • Don’t hesitate to call ISU Police if you or your friend are in need of assistance and have been drinking.  Our main concern is your safety!
  • Practice online safety.
    • Never reveal your social security number.
    • Avoid posting personal information or location.
    • Create passwords that cannot be easily guessed.  Change your passwords regularly.
    • Carefully consider what you post online; privacy settings are not “private”.  Online postings are available, even after being deleted.

Protect Your Community

Crime can occur anywhere, anytime—no one is immune.

  • Report suspicious behavior or threatening situations immediately.  Describe the person(s) or situations as completely as possible to the 911 dispatcher.
  • Seek assistance from ISU Police or Department of Residence staff if you are harassed, threatened or stalked.  Save all communications received including texts, emails, voicemail or written notes.
  • Avoid propping open exterior and fire doors or allowing strangers to enter.
  • Report possible hazards such as nonworking lights, broken windows or damaged doors.
  • Read and familiarize yourself with the Iowa State University Student Conduct Code and the Iowa State University Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Prepare For Unexpected Or Crisis Situations

Knowledge and quick response is vital.

Keep emergency numbers in your phone and on your person.

  • Emergencies only:  911
  • ISU Police:  515-294-4428
  • Local police department and sheriff’s department
  • Iowa State Patrol

Keep “ICE” (in case of emergency) numbers in your phone and on your person.  If you are injured or seriously ill, your personal contact information will be vital.

911 information:

  • 911 dialed from an on-campus land line will connect you with ISU Police.
  • 911 dialed from a cell phone on campus will be routed to Ames Police, Story County Sheriff or the Iowa State Patrol.  The dispatcher will likely transfer the call to ISU Police.
  • Stay on the phone with the 911 dispatcher; give your location and information as clearly and calmly as possible to assist police and emergency personnel.  Follow the dispatcher’s directions.

Crisis situations may include a natural disaster or an attack on campus.

  • Focus on getting to safety.  Think, don’t panic. 
  • Follow instructions and procedures during an emergency.
  • Know the location of exits in your residence as well as campus buildings and facilities.
  • Report suspicious people, behavior or activity immediately.
  • Use common sense:  “threat” jokes or inflammatory statements could cause panic or retaliatory actions.  You may be detained by police.
  • Respect emergency equipment such as smoke detectors, fire alarms and fire extinguishers.  Report damaged equipment immediately.

Protect Your Home

Minimize risk to your home.

  • Keep doors to your residence locked whether or not you are home.
  • Do not admit strangers to your home.
  • Close blinds/curtains at night.
  • Keep valuable items out of sight and securely stored.  Make a list of items’ brand names, model and serial numbers for insurance purposes.  If you are a victim of theft, accurate information may allow recovered items to be traced and returned