General Safety Tips
- Use campus safety services such as Nite Ride (free, late-night transportation system) and Rave Guardian (campus safety app).
- Be aware of your surroundings. Using your phone and listening to music can distract you from people, cars, and other potential safety threats, especially during the late night and early morning hours.
- Lock your door at all times, even if you are only leaving your room/residence or sleeping for a short time.
- Do not hold the door open for others. Holding the door open for others may allow people who don't belong in residence halls to gain access to areas where they don't belong.
- Trust your instincts. If you have an encounter with someone that leaves you in fear for your safety or that of others, it should be taken seriously.
- If you see something, say something. We rely on those in our community to recognize and report troubling and suspicious behaviors.
- Never risk injury for material items. Give up your belongings immediately if you are threatened with physical harm.
- You are not obligated to communicate with strangers; don't be concerned with appearing rude if you feel vulnerable.
- Get to a safe location. If you believe you are being followed, quickly run or walk toward other people or enter an establishment and call 911.
- Be aware of scams. College students are often targeted by scammers who misrepresent who they are and offer companionship, jobs, or threats of arrest. If someone you have never met in real life is asking you to buy gift cards, wire money, send photos of yourself, or asking for your personal information, it might be a scam. Stop contact, don't share anything, and report it to police.
As a bystander
- If you feel uneasy about a situation, trust your instincts and attempt to interrupt the chain of events.
- Being an active bystander doesn't require that you put yourself at risk. Call 911, and, if practical, attempt to record pertinent information (description of the offender, distinguishing features, location and direction of travel, etc.)
- Report any suspicious activity to police immediately, by calling 911.
Campus Safety Data
The Annual Security Report covers information about crime prevention efforts, crime and fire statistics, and other important campus safety information.
Make sure your Hawk Alert settings are up to date. Text message is the fastest way to receive an alert. You can review and update your settings on the Emergency Notifications page.
Emergency Response Guide
Familiarize yourself with how to respond to the various types of emergencies that could happen while you're on campus by reading the Emergency Response Guide.
A good first step is to know where to take shelter in the buildings where you live, learn, and work most often.
Run, Hide, Fight
Be prepared to take actions necessary to protect your life -- Run, Hide, Fight.
- Run: Get away from danger if you can safely do so. Keep your hands empty and visible and follow all instructions from emergency responders.
- Hide: If leaving the area is not a safe option, secure in place. Lock and barricade doors with heavy furniture. Stay away from doors or windows. Silence your phone. Remain quiet and keep yourself out of sight.
- Fight: As a last resort and only if your life is in imminent danger, protect yourself. Work as a group if possible. Attempt to incapacitate the assailant by improvising weapons/throwing items/using physical aggression. Commit to your actions.
Campus Safety offers many free and low-cost training programs to campus and the community. Learn more about safety training courses.
Nationwide, 13 percent of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students). About eight in 10 incidents of sexual violence are committed by someone known to the victim.
The university has a committed team working to prevent sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, dating violence, and stalking; provide trauma-informed care to survivors; implement a fair and equitable resolution process; and hold community members accountable for harm created.
Students at the University of Iowa complete training within their first few weeks of arriving on campus and educational opportunities continue throughout their academic career.
The only person responsible for a crime is the perpetrator. There are strategies to help you take an active role in supporting your safety, and the safety of those you care about.
Consensual sex occurs when both partners agree to engage in sexual activity. Consent must always be knowing and voluntary, and clear permission by word or clear unambiguous action to engage in sexual activity. This video helps explain the concept of consent. Learn more about the UI's definition of consent in the Policy on Sexual Harassment and Misconduct.
The most common type of sexual assault is not committed by a stranger, but by someone known to the victim, typically a date or other acquaintance.
If you feel uneasy about a situation, trust your instincts and attempt to interrupt the chain of events. Here are some strategies:
- Create a distraction and involve others.
- Make a commitment to ensure everyone has a safe way home.
- Remember being an active bystander does not require you put yourself at risk.
- Review additional information from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
The university offers many resources, including confidential advice and medical assistance, to to help you through whatever situation you may be experiencing.
We all have a role to play in supporting campus safety. If you witness something that is a threat to public safety or an individual, report it as soon as possible.
If it's an emergency, call 911.
By state law, police cannot cite people who are under legal drinking age (21) for certain criminal offenses when they call 911 to get medical assistance for themself or another person. The university has implemented guidelines through the Responsible Action Protocol as it pertains to Code of Student Life violations.
Responsible Action Protocol
A student who seeks emergency assistance for themselves or on behalf of a student experiencing an alcohol or other drug related emergency will not be subject to disciplinary measures including, removal from a course, enrollment restrictions in a course or program, disciplinary reprimand, disciplinary probation, suspension, expulsion, or contract cancellation from University Housing & Dining under the Code of Student Life. Learn more about the Responsible Action Protocol and Amnesty for Complainants and Witnesses.
Preventing Bike Theft
Many UI students and employees rely on bicycle transportation. Unfortunately, bicycles are a common target of theft on college campuses, and ours is no exception.
There are a few steps you can take to prevent bike theft, including:
- Register your bike on campus using Bike Index. This creates a record of your bike ownership, and can help campus safety locate, identify, and return your bicycle, should it go missing.
- Use a high-quality lock, preferably one that is not easily compromised by bolt cutters. When you lock your bike, be sure to lock your bike frame and wheel ;to fixed, approved bike racks.
- Balance protection and visibility.Lock up your bike in a moderately busy area with high visibility rather than an isolated location. Avoid leaving your bike unattended in the same area for multiple days without checking on it.
- Consider investing in a small tracking device for your bicycle.
- Report bike theft and suspicious activity near bike racks. You can contact Campus Safety at 319-335-5022, or by using the text feature on the Rave Guardian App.
Recognizing the common signs of a scam can help you avoid one. Be wary of anyone who contacts you unexpectedly over the phone or email and asks you for money, personal information, or photos. If you were scammed or think you saw a scam, tell the FTC at: reportfraud.ftc.gov.
Signs of a Scam
Check out these signs of a scam from the Federal Trade Commission:
- Scammers often pretend to be from an organization you know. They may claim they are contacting you on behalf of an official government agency, or a local business/service provider. They can use technology to change the phone number that appears on your caller ID to appear legitimate.
- Scammers say there's a problem or a prize. They may say you're in trouble with the government, that you owe money, or someone in your family had an emergency. Others may claim you have won a lottery but have to pay a fee to claim it.
- Scammers pressure you to act immediately. They want you to act before you have time to think or look into their claims. They may threaten to arrest you, sue you, or corrupt your computer.
- Scammers tell you to pay in a specific way. They may insist you buy gift cards, wire money through a company, or use cryptocurrency. Some will send you a check (that will later turn out to be fake) and tell you to deposit it and send them money.
The Iowa Department of Justice has additional information and resources available to protect consumers from scams, as does the FTC Scam Alert website.
How to avoid a Scam
- Never give personal or financial information to an unsolicited call or email request that you didn't expect.
- Block unwanted calls and text messages.
- Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment for any reason.
- Resist the pressure to act immediately. An honest business will give you time to make a decision.
- Stop and talk to someone you trust. Before you take any action, tell a friend, family member, or colleague what happened. Talking it out can help you realize it's a scam.
- Know how scammers tell you to pay. Never pay someone who insists you use cryptocurrency, a wire transfer service, or a gift card. Never deposit a check and send money back to someone.
- If you think you’re the target of a scam, hang up without providing any information or money and report the call to your local police department.
- Be thoughtful about what information you post online. Keep your privacy settings up to date on social media sites, as scammers often pull personal information about their targets from the internet to gain trust or seem legitimate.
The FBI has reported a rise in scams targeting young adults where blackmailers threaten to distribute nude or compromising images unless their demands are met.
Keep these warning signs in mind, and be cautious when interacting with people you've never met in person.
The scammer may:
- Contact you on a dating service, social media website, or gaming app.
- Express strong emotions for you right away, and pressure you into speaking with them on a more private channel.
- Ask you to share compromising images/video or record sensitive content of you without your knowledge.
- Send you a photo which they claim is of them.
- Claim their video chat feature is broken, and ask you to send an image with your face in it.
- Have an online profile for themselves that doesn't match what you see and hear when you talk to them.
- Threaten to share compromising images with your family, friends, or co-workers unless you give them what they want (money, more photos, continued communication).
What to do
- Don't believe a blackmailer. If you give them what they're demanding, they will just keep asking for more.
- Do not pay the blackmailer or give them more money or intimate content.
- Stop all contact with the person blackmailing you. Block unwanted phone numbers and emails.
- Collect evidence including screenshots of their contact with you, phone number, their user names, where they contacted you, times, and other details.
- Report what's happening to your local law enforcement agency.
- Remember it's not your fault, even if you shared intimate content with someone.
- Reach out for support. Being the target of a scam is stressful. Take care of yourself, and make use of campus mental health and student care resources to help you cope.
Keep your Hawk Alert settings up to date. Text message is the fastest way to receive an alert.
Download Rave Guardian, the free campus safety app, for additional safety tools at your fingertips.
Campus Safety Resources
This guide is a resource to help every Hawkeye — students, faculty, and staff — feel knowledgeable of the safety and support services available on campus.