Crime Prevention Education

While Campus Safety & Security works 24/7 to foster a safe environment for the JHU community, you also play an important role. Included here are some helpful tools that can help you protect yourself and others.

Alcohol Safety
  • Criminals are predators. A person who is intoxicated to the point of physical and mental impairment makes him- or herself an easy target for a potential attacker. 
  • Alcohol impairs many of the faculties we depend on to make good sound decisions. 
  • Impaired individuals may take chances a sober person would never consider. 
  • When at dance clubs or drinking in groups, be aware that someone may try to put what is referred to as “club drugs” into your drink without your knowledge. If you ever leave a drink unattended, discard the drink. 
ATM Safety

Facts about ATM Robberies

  • Approximately 50% of ATM robberies occur between 7 p.m. and midnight.
  • The majority of ATM robberies involve a single customer.
  • Robbers position themselves near an ATM, at a distance of approximately 50 ft.
  • Most robberies are committed by a lone robber who will use some type of weapon.
  • Robberies occur more often at walk-up ATMs than at drive-thru ATMs.

ATM User Safety Tips

  • Be aware of your surroundings. If you notice anything suspicious, such as someone loitering nearby or a security light out, consider coming back later.
  • Only use ATMs in a well-lighted, open, high-traffic area.
  • If using an ATM at night, take someone with you.
  • If using an ATM in a vestibule area, be sure the door is securely closed and do not open for others.
  • If you withdraw cash, put it away promptly; don’t count your money in public.
  • Put your ATM card and receipt away promptly. Never leave your receipt at the ATM.
  • Keep your PIN secret. Don’t write it on your card.
  • Shield the keypad when entering your PIN to keep it from being observed.
  • Beware of offers for help from strangers during an ATM transaction.
  • Don’t argue or attempt to fight with a robber; give up your cash.
  • If robbed, when safe to do so, immediately call the police.
Bicycle Safety
  • Consider using a U-Bolt-style lock for your bicycle. Attach the lock through a wheel, the frame, and a stationary object such as a bicycle rack. 
  • Register your bicycle’s make, model, and serial number with Campus Safety and Security.
  • Engrave your bicycle to deter thieves and to help in identifying and returning a stolen bicycle. Mark your identification in two different locations on non-removable parts. 
  • Report any suspicious behavior you see around the bicycle racks. Never leave your bicycle unattended anywhere.
  • Be sure that the bicycle cannot be lifted over what you are locking it to.
  • For bicycles with quick-release wheels, lock both wheels and the frame to a secure structure.
  • Secure components such as lights, seat posts with quick release levers, and saddle bags or remove them. 
  • Make the lock as awkward as possible to get at.
  • Do not leave your bicycle locked to racks on campus over the summer unless you are attending the university. 
  • Before you walk away from your bicycle, do a quick check that your lock is really secure and there are no easily removable items.
  • Make sure that in parking and locking your bicycle you are not impeding pedestrian or handicap access.
  • Keep a record of your bicycle’s make, model, color, and frame number.
Campus Housing Safety
  • Don’t let others tailgate when entering residence halls and report immediately anyone whom you see helping others tailgate.
  • Do not prop open any residence’s exterior door.
  • When in the residence hall never leave your room unlocked, even while taking a shower or making a short trip down the hall.
  • Refrain from posting notes on your door informing others that no one is in the room.
  • Don’t leave valuables, such as your wallet, checkbook, or jewelry, in open view.
  • Keep an accurate inventory of your possessions. Engraving tools may be borrowed from Security for inscribing your driver’s license number.
  • Keys should not be attached to university identification.
  • Take care of your keys. Don’t give anyone a chance to duplicate them.
  • Be a good neighbor; look for suspicious activity or people in the residence hall.
Cellphone Safety

Cellphone Robberies

As smartphones have become more popular and more expensive, phone theft is increasing dramatically. According to the Federal Communications Commission, one in three robberies nationwide now involves taking a phone. In San Francisco, the number is closer to 50 percent; in New York, more than 40 percent; and in Washington, D.C., 38 percent. In Baltimore, the trend indicates that we may soon be at the point where phones are taken in the majority of street robberies.

Phone theft is usually a crime of opportunity. And criminals focus on opportunities you give them, whether you’re walking on the street, sitting in a restaurant or coffee shop, working out at the gym, or studying at the library.

At the Homewood campus last year, there were thefts of unattended phones at Fresh Food Café, the O’Connor Rec Center, and residence halls. Phones were also taken off campus, in hangouts like Subway and Chipotle and in robberies on the street.

Another frequent robbery technique is the “grab and run”; a criminal catches you with your guard down while you’re on a phone call, snatches the device, and takes off. Yet another technique: A criminal asks to borrow your phone to make an urgent call and then runs away.

You can do a lot to protect yourself against phone theft.

Here are some tips:

  • Conceal what a crook wants to steal.
  • Do not walk in public talking on your phone, texting, or even openly carrying the device.
  • If you must be on the phone, be aware of your surroundings and of other people nearby. (Just being obviously alert and cautious may deter a criminal, who will wait for an easier target.)
  • Don’t wear earbuds while on the street. In particular, white iPhone or iPad earbuds suggest you are carrying an Apple product, which may target you as a potential high-value victim.
  • Don’t allow strangers to “borrow” your phone or other electronic device.

Other important precautions:

  • Keep records on your phone, including 1) make and model, 2) color and appearance, 3) PIN or security lock code, and 4) the IMEI number for GSM phones. (IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity. It’s a 15-digit number unique to your phone and can be found by looking beneath the battery or by keying in *#06# on many phones.)
  • Add a security mark: print your post code or house number onto both your phone and battery so that you can identify them easily.
  • Ensure that your cellphone is password-protected.
  • Register your phone with your network provider when you buy it. If the phone is later stolen, report the loss to the provider immediately.
  • Don’t store personal or financial information in your phone. If it’s stolen, it’s not difficult for criminals to extract information before wiping the phone’s memory and reselling the device.
  • Activate the global positioning system tracking option on your phone. If the phone does not have GPS tracking, consider after-market software. For instance, there’s a free “Find my iPhone” app available from Apple.

To combat phone theft, the FCC and the major U.S. cellphone carriers have agreed to create a national database to track stolen phones and prevent them from being used again. The database is scheduled to launch late this year.

But preventing a theft is far better – and far easier – than having to deal with one.

Remember: Be smart to avoid losing your smartphone.

Computer Security
  • Be careful with commercial transactions on the web. If you are buying goods or services, use common sense. Make sure you know with whom you are completing the transaction. Verify their identity independently (e.g., check directory assistance or the Better Business Bureau to verify the business exists). 
  • Guard your password. Don’t share it with anyone. Once you have shared it, you no longer have control over how your account is used. Don’t write down your password or include it in a login script. 
  • Limit the amount of personal information you share. There could be thousands of people reading your postings, lists, or newsgroup sites. Some services archive newsgroup messages indefinitely, providing key-word search capabilities to find anything that anyone ever posted on a public newsgroup site. 
  • Consider how much personal information you include in your email signature file. Is your home telephone number or address really necessary? 
  • Update your virus protection software regularly or when new virus alerts are announced. 
  • Do not download files sent to you by strangers or click on hyperlinks from people you don’t know. 
  • Use a firewall program, especially if you use a high-speed internet connection like cable, DSL, or T-1, which leaves your computer connected to the internet 24 hours a day. 
  • Try not to store financial information on your laptop unless absolutely necessary. 
  • Delete personal information before you dispose of a computer. 
Con Artists
  • Con artists are usually talkative and intelligent and tend to blend into the environment in which they operate. 
  • Don’t be fooled into believing that you can judge an individual’s honesty or intentions by the way he or she is dressed, and never assume that con artists are either always male or female. 
  • The variations of con artistry themes are creative and abundant. 
  • As a rule of thumb, you should not engage in conversation with strangers. 
  • Approaches can vary, but more often than not they will claim to have discovered a substantial amount of money and want to share it with you; be a bank examiner (or other similar position) who needs your assistance in apprehending a dishonest employee; or be in a predicament requiring use of your bank computer-access card. 
  • If you are approached, decline discussion and immediately report the incident to Campus Safety and Security. 
  • Remember, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
Dating Safety

Dating Guidelines

  • Always tell someone where you are going with your date, with whom, and when you are expected to return.
  • Check out a first date or a blind date with friends. Meet in and go to public places. 
  • Trust your instincts. If a place or the way your date acts makes you nervous or uneasy, get away from the situation.
  • When out with friends, keep together and try not to get separated. Do not leave a social event with someone you have just met or do not know well.
  • Be careful not to let alcohol or other drugs decrease your ability to take care of yourself and make sensible decisions.
  • Do not accept beverages from someone you do not know or trust. Always watch your drink and never leave it unattended.
  • Accept a person’s decision when he/she says, “No!” 
  • Do not assume that a person wants to have sex just because he/she is drinking heavily, dresses provocatively, or agrees to go home with you. 
  • Never have sex with anyone who is passed out.
  • Do not assume that just because a person has had sex with you previously he or she is willing to have sex with you again.
  • Do not assume that if a person consents to kissing or other sexual intimacies he or she is willing to have sexual intercourse.
  • Realize that forcing a person to have sex against his/her will is rape, a violent crime with serious consequences.
  • If you see a person in trouble at a party or a friend using force or pressuring a person, do not be afraid to intervene. 

If You Become a Victim of Date Rape

  • Get help. Do not isolate yourself, do not feel guilty, and do not ignore it. It is a crime and should be reported.
  • Get medical attention as soon as possible. Do not shower, wash, or change your clothes. Women should not douche. Valuable evidence could be destroyed.
  • Get counseling to deal with the emotional trauma.
  • If you think you’ve been assaulted while under the influence of Rohypnol or GHB, seek help immediately. Try not to urinate before providing urine samples, and if possible collect any glasses from which you drank.

“Date Rape” Drugs

  • Rohypnol (“roofies,” “circles,” “the forget pills”) works like a tranquilizer. It causes muscle weakness, fatigue, slurred speech, loss of motor coordination and judgment, and amnesia that lasts up to 24 hours. It looks like an aspirin (small, white, and round).
  • GHB (also known as “liquid X,” “salt water,” or “scoop”) causes quick sedation. Its effects are drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, coma, and possibly death. Its most common form is a clear liquid, although it also can take the form of a white, grainy powder.
  • Rohypnol and GHB are called the date rape drugs because when they are slipped into someone’s drink a sexual assault can take place without the victim being able to remember what happened.

Online Dating

  • Never give out your home address, phone number, the name of your school, or any other personal details to people you do not know.
  • If you decide to talk to someone on the phone, ask to call him/her. Make sure to use caller ID block (*67).
  • Use a nickname in chat rooms or message boards.
  • Trust your instincts. If you pick up on contradictions or inconsistencies from your chat friend, or something does not feel right, end your communication with him/her.
  • Meet chat friends in public places.
  • Always tell someone where you are going with your online date, who your online date is, and when you will return.
  • Take a cellphone with you.
  • Never go to the house of someone you have just met.

Sexual Assault Safe Line

  • The Sexual Assault SafeLine (410-516-7333) is a confidential service of the Johns Hopkins University Counseling Center. Trained professional counselors are available to offer support, provide resources, or answer questions 24/7. A counselor can help you arrange for transportation if you need medical care, and can also arrange for an advocate to accompany you to the hospital if you wish.
  • This line is regularly monitored by our on-call counselors, so if you reach an answering machine you may leave your first name and telephone number and the on-call counselor will call you back shortly. The service is available to full-time Homewood students and Peabody students.

Emergencies

  • If you are in danger, call 911.
  • You may also call Hopkins Security at 410-516-7777 (note that your call will be recorded)
Driving Safety
  • Keep your car in good running condition. Make sure there’s enough gas to get where you’re going and back.
  • Have your keys ready before getting into your vehicle. Lock the doors immediately upon entering your vehicle.
  • Always roll up the windows and lock car doors, even if you’re coming right back. Check inside and out before getting in your car. 
  • Avoid parking in isolated areas. Be especially alert in parking lots and underground parking garages. Park in well-lit areas. 
  • If you think someone is following you home, drive to the nearest police or fire station, gas station, or other open business to get help. 
  • If your vehicle breaks down, call for help on the cellphone, lock all windows and doors on the vehicle, and don’t open the vehicle for anyone until help arrives. 
  • Never leave your credit cards or other important papers in the glove department. Never leave any objects in plain view. Lock all valuables in the trunk.
  • Do not mark your key chain with your name, address, and license number. Lost keys can lead a thief to your car or home.
  • Do not leave your house and car keys together with an attendant at a public parking lot. Your house key can be quickly duplicated and your address obtained from your plate number.
  • Use the “Club” or other auto theft prevention tools. 
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
Identity Theft
  • An identity thief may pick through your trash to capture your personal information. Tear or shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications, checks and bank statements, expired credit cards, and credit offers you get in the mail. 
  • Don’t carry your SSN card; leave it in a secure place. 
  • Carry only the identification information and the number of credit and debit cards that you’ll actually need. 
  • Don’t use your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number, or similar series of numbers as a password for anything. 
  • Pay attention to your billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if your bill doesn’t arrive on time. A missing credit card bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your account and changed your billing address to cover his or her tracks. 
  • Cancel all credit cards that you have not used in the last six months. 
  • Be wary of promotional scams. 
  • Place passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts. 
  • Secure your mailbox. Thieves search mailboxes for pre-approved credit offers, bank statements, tax forms, or convenience checks. 
  • Order your credit report at least once a year. Reports should be obtained from all three major sources: Equifax at 800-685-1111; Experian at 883-397-3742; or TransUnion at 800-680-4213. 
  • In writing, correct all mistakes on your credit report.

What to Do If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft

  • Place a fraud alert on your credit reports and review your credit reports. This can help prevent an identity thief from opening additional accounts in your name. As soon as the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will automatically be notified to place fraud alerts on your credit report, and all three reports will be sent to you free of charge. 
  • The bureau numbers to report fraud are: 
    Equifax: 1-800-525-6285, PO Box 740241 Atlanta, GA, 30374-0241 
    Experian: 1-888-397-3742, PO Box 9532, Allen, TX, 75013  
    TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289, PO Box 6790 Fullerton,CA, 92384-6790 
  • Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Keep all copies of correspondence or forms you send. Follow up in writing with all contacts you’ve made on the phone or in person. Use certified mail, return receipt requested. Write down the name of anyone you talk to, what he or she told you, and the date the conversation occurred. Keep the originals of supporting documentation, like police reports and letters to and from creditors; send copies only. 
  • Save all documentation. Set up a filing system for easy access to your paperwork. 
  • File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place. Keep a copy of the report. You may need it to validate your claims to creditors. If you can’t get a copy, at least get the report number.
  • File a complaint with the FTC, visit the FTC website or call the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline: toll-free 1-877-438-4338 or write:

    Identity Theft Clearinghouse 
    Federal Trade Commission
    600 Pennsylvania Avenue,  NW
    Washington, DC 20580

By sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC, you will provide important information that can help law enforcement officials track down identity thieves and stop them.

Pedestrian Safety

Walking and Street Safety

  • Stay in well-lit, well-traveled streets. Walk halfway between curbs and buildings, away from alleys, entries, and bushes. Avoid shortcuts through wooded areas, parking lots, or alleys. 
  • Try to travel in pairs. It reduces your chance of being a victim of a street crime. 
  • Don’t flash large amounts of cash or other tempting targets like expensive jewelry or clothing.
  • If you are followed, be suspicious. Keep looking behind you and you may discourage the follower. If someone is following you on foot, cross the street, change directions, or vary your pace. If someone follows you in a car, turn around and walk in the opposite direction.
  • Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put your wallet in your inside coat or front pants pocket, not a back pocket. 
  • Try to use automated teller machines in the daytime. Have your card in hand and don’t approach the machine if you’re uneasy about people nearby. 
  • Don’t wear shoes or clothing that restricts your movements.
  • Plan the safest route to your destination and use it.
  • Have your car or house key in hand before you reach the door. 
  • Never hitchhike or “hack.” Use university escort van services. It’s worth the wait.
  • Avoid using cellphones or MP3 players while walking. Suspects target phones and other items in plain view.
  • Stay alert at all times and be aware of your surroundings.

Jogging and Outdoor Activities

  • Wearing headphones while jogging can reduce your level of alertness.
  • Jog in a familiar area. Do not jog in a heavily wooded, poorly lighted, or secluded area.
  • While jogging avoid shortcuts through deserted parks, vacant lots, or unlit pathways.
  • Stay away from shrubbery, trees, or doorways that can provide concealment.
  • Wear brightly colored clothing to improve visibility.
  • Avoid jogging at night.
  • Consider carrying a whistle or other noisemaker and sound it loudly if you are accosted or feel threatened.
  • If followed, go to the nearest residence, open business, or group of people. Call police.
  • Carry some form of identification.
  • Never leave your belongings unattended anywhere.
Public Transportation
  • If possible use well-lighted, busy stops. 
  • Stay alert! Do not leave yourself noticeably vulnerable to theft by dozing off. 
  • A crowded bus is an environment for pickpockets. Carry your wallet in an inside coat pocket or a front pants pocket. Carry your bag closely, not dangling from its strap.
  • Take a seat near the driver if another passenger is bothering you.
  • If someone harasses you on a bus or subway, do not be embarrassed to shout, “Leave me alone!”
  • Watch who exits with you. If you feel uneasy, walk directly to a place where there are other people.
  • If something or someone at your intended stop raises your concern about personal safety, wait until the next stop to get off.
Residential Safety
  • Lock all doors and windows when you leave the house and when you go to sleep. Lock your garage door as well.
  • Remember: A lock is not a lock unless you lock it. 
  • Sliding glass doors are vulnerable. Special locks are available for better security. 
  • Install deadbolt locks with at least a 2″ slide bolt and 3″ screws that secure the stop plate to the door frame.
  • Change locks any time a key is lost or stolen, and don’t give or lend keys.
  • By installing a one-way peephole, you can see who is outside.
  • Fasten air conditioner units securely to the windowsill or window frame. Otherwise, burglars can too easily remove the unit and enter your home through the window.
  • Keep the perimeter of your home well lighted. Low-voltage outdoor lighting is a cost-effective way to discourage intruders. 
  • Consider using timed interior lights and outdoor timed or motion lights to make your home appear occupied when you are away.
  • Don’t advertise when the house will be unoccupied. Stop all mail and have a friend or neighbor collect newspapers/fliers. Have someone park a car in your driveway or parking pad.
  • Make your house look occupied by day; leave drapes and shades in normal positions with valuables out of sight.
  • Keep a radio or television on low volume when not at home.
  • Keep shrubbery trimmed away from doors and windows. Burglars need only a minute to break in.
  • Be a good neighbor by keeping an eye on your neighbor’s home; get them to do the same for you.
  • Be suspicious of anyone who asks to enter your home for any type of “maintenance” reason. There are numerous cases of people impersonating electricians or gas line inspectors who turn out to be dangerous. Always demand to see an official company ID.
  • Report suspicious people or vehicles lurking in the neighborhood.
  • Dial 911 if your suspicions are aroused and give police a good description.
  • Mark your property by inscribing your driver’s license number on these items. 
  • Keep a list of the make, model, and serial numbers of all valuables.
  • Organize a community watch program to protect your neighborhood. An alert community is a safe community.
Ride Share Safety
  • Try to use the services with another person- pair up.
  • Use the apps safety features to share trip details with family and friends.
    • Many companies offer various app connections to report both emergency and non-emergency safety issues. 
  • Review your driver’s profile and vehicle information to confirm they are the authorized driver of the vehicle.
  • Check to make sure there are no other riders in the vehicle. 
  • Create time and distance before entering the vehicle.
    • Pause: be cognizant of your surroundings.  Who else is around you while you are waiting for your ride? 
    • Try to stay inside of a building or around crowds while waiting for a vehicle.
    • Keep a distance from the curb or place of pick-up until you can ascertain if the driver is your requested driver.
  • Call 911 if something does not seem right.
Robbery
  • Don’t resist. Give up your property; don’t give up your life.
  • Do not volunteer any information or do anything other than what the robber asks. Listen carefully and pay attention to the robber’s appearance and demeanor.
  • One of the most important things to remember if you are being robbed is to do as you are told and try to observe.
  • Call 911 or Campus Safety and Security 410-516-7777 right away. The first minutes after a crime occurs are critical to law enforcement.
  • Describe exactly what occurred with as many details as possible. Give complete descriptions such as sex, race, age, height, weight, hair color, scars, tattoos, and clothing. If a vehicle was involved try to get the make, color, and license plate.
  • If you observe a crime in progress, stay calm and call 911 or call Campus Safety and Security at 410-516-7777. Your actions can prevent others from being victims.
Scam Awareness

Emails from an unknown source are claiming to be university department heads or deans. The individuals then claim that they are in an important meeting and request a cell phone number from the recipient. A text message is then sent to that cell phone number, instructing the recipient to purchase gift cards from a local store. After purchasing the gift cards, the recipient is asked to photograph the numeric code on the back of the card and send it back via text. The originating email address attempts to indicate that it is an official Johns Hopkins account and may include the name of a university faculty member.  If you receive an such email, do not respond. Instead, contact Johns Hopkins University Campus Safety and Security Investigations at 410-516-4600. The university would never ask faculty and staff to conduct any of these actions. Never provide any identifying or personal information to an unconfirmed source.

Unfortunately, criminals are attempting to take advantage of unsuspecting victims during the current situation. Other methods have been reported, including:

  • Fake COVID-19 cures or at-home test kits for sale online. At this time, there is no cure, vaccination or home test kit for COVID-19.
  • Phishing emails and phone calls purportedly from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or similar organizations requesting personal information. These organizations will never ask for personal or financial information over the phone, via text message or through email.
  • Fraudulent donation requests for illegitimate or nonexistent charitable organizations. Do your homework when donating, and never give in cash, gift cards or wire transfers. If you wish to donate, please visit charitywatch.org to ensure you are working with a reputable charity.
  • Counterfeit products and medical equipment, such as hand sanitizer, N95 respirator masks, eye goggles, face shields, protective gowns and gloves. Only purchase from trusted sources, and be aware of possible counterfeit products. 

If you find yourself a victim of any these or any other fraudulent activities please contact the Baltimore Police and/or Campus Safety and Security.

Scams increase around the holidays. Please refer to our Holiday Scam Guide for more details and prevention tips.