Safety Tips

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We all play a role in creating a culture of safety in our community. Basic awareness, reporting of suspicious activity, and intolerance of criminal activity help to create and maintain this culture. While not all dangerous situations can be avoided, planning and preparation can reduce your risk of becoming a crime victim.

Crime can happen anywhere, anytime. Look out for each other. No one deserves to be victimized.

 

 General Safety Tips

  • Keep important phone numbers in your phone, and/or in an easily accessible location at your workplace.
    • Dial 911 for emergencies
    • For non-emergency reports:
      • Ames Police: 515-239-5133
      • ISU Police: 515-294-4428
      • Story County Sheriff: 515-382-6566
  • Know your location and be prepared to give this information to the dispatcher when you call. Try to calmly answer the dispatcher's questions in the order they are asked. This will allow us to get help to you as quickly as possible. 
  • Report suspicious activity immediately
    • Describe the situation/person/vehicle as best you can. License plates, descriptions of vehicles/individuals, and direction of travel are all helpful pieces of information.
    • Our officers are trained to investigate in a sensitive manner so don't feel that you are being judgmental or petty. If you feel that something is wrong, it may be; and a call to police may prevent a crime.
  • Trust your instincts and avoid the situation or call 911 if you feel threatened. 
  • Know the locations of emergency exits and fire extinguishers at your work or home. 

Personal Safety Tips

  • Be alert to your surroundings and look for unusual behavior.
  • Eliminate distractions such as electronic devices and headphones when in public.
    • If you wear headphones during outdoor activities consider:
      • Keeping the volume low.
      • Only using one earpiece.
      • Being more visually alert.
  • If you are being harassed, stalked, or threatened contact the Ames Police Department (or ISU Police Department if you are on campus). Early intervention in these cases can sometimes prevent escalation. 
  • Travel with another person or in groups when possible. If walking to your car after dark, consider having someone walk with you.
  • Communicate your plans with others when appropriate.
  • Using alcohol and drugs impairs your ability to react and make decisions. Use extra caution when impaired by these substances. 

The Ames Police Department offers Personal Safety Presentations to community and business groups. If you are interested in scheduling this presentation please contact Officer Eric Snyder at esnyder@city.ames.ia.us or 515-239-5432. 

Home Safety Tips

  • ALWAYS lock your doors, whether you are home or not. 
  • If you live in a multi-unit building, avoid propping exterior/fire doors open or allowing strangers to enter. 
  • Report possible dangerous areas, such as those with poor lighting, to the City of Ames or your property manager/residence hall.
  • Close blinds/curtains and keep valuables out of sight. 
  • Make a list of valuable items including brand names, models, and serial numbers. A photo catalog is a great way to ensure that this information is available in the event of loss or theft.
  • Register and lock your bicycle. 
  • Know the locations of emergency exits and fire extinguishers, especially when in a new or unfamiliar place.
  • Have an emergency plan for natural disasters or attacks. Your plan should focus on getting to safety, not just getting away from danger.
  • Avoid sharing travel information/vacation plans on social media. Wait until you return home to share this information.
  • When traveling, consider having a trusted friend or family member check on your property. 
    • If you'll be gone for an extended time, have someone bring mail and deliveries inside and plan for snow removal or yard maintenance. 

Travel Safety Tips

  • Share your itinerary with trusted people at home and check in regularly.
  • When staying in a hotel:
    • Try to get a room near the front desk or elevator where there is more activity.
    • Ask the clerk to write your room number down so bystanders don't hear it.
    • Avoid ground floors where window security can be an issue.
    • Don't answer the door unless you are expecting someone and always check first.
    • If you lose your room key ask for a new-keyed card, not a duplicate. 
    • Know the locations of emergency exits and fire extinguishers.
  • Blend in as best you can. If you stand out you may be a target.
  • Keep cash, credit cards, and passports in separate places and don't take anything you don't need.
  • Lock up valuables that you aren't carrying with you.
  • Look up phone numbers for local authorities and have this information readily available. 
  • Pay close attention to your surroundings and always know your location. 

Online Safety Tips

  • Protect your personal information and avoid giving out sensitive information such as Social Security numbers. 
  • Avoid posting information about your location.
  • Use caution when meeting strangers you met online. The Ames Police Department public lobby or parking lot are available as a meeting place when selling/buying items. 
  • Use strong passwords that aren't easily guessed and change passwords regularly.