We have a safe campus, but no community is entirely crime free. By following a few safety tips and knowing the resources, you can reduce your risk of being affected by crime.
General safety tips
- Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, leave right away and go immediately to an area with lights and people.
- Lock your doors, even if you are in the room. Theft is the most common crime on college campuses, and ours is no exception. The best way to stop theft is by locking up your residence and vehicles. It also protects you from people who may have ill-intent.
- Don’t let others “piggyback.” Especially around residence halls, holding doors for others may provide access to people who don’t belong there. Politely ask others to use their key or swipe card to gain entry.
- Report suspicious activity. Even the smallest bit of information could prevent a crime and help protect yourself or others.
- Use SafeWalks. Criminals target people walking alone at night. Walking in groups of three or more is the best way to prevent crime. Call 217-333-1216 to access SafeWalks, our free walking escort service.
- Stay aware of your surroundings. Listening to music or using your phone can distract you from people or vehicles around you.
- Keep an eye and an ear out for scams. Not everyone is who they say they are. Scammers target college students online and by phone with offers of jobs, or with threats of arrest. If it sounds sketchy, it probably is.
Dozens of emergency phones are strategically located across campus. Use them when you need help.
Criminals are opportunistic and tend to target people who are walking alone late at night in secluded areas. You can reduce your risk of being targeted by walking in groups of three or more, and by using well-lit, high-traffic routes.
SafeWalks is a free safety escort service provided by trained Student Patrol officers who will walk with you when you are traveling on campus at night. Student Patrol officers are also trained in first aid and basic medical intervention, and they carry the same radios as police and other first responders, so they have a direct line of communication with emergency services.
All you need to do is call 217-333-1216 to request a SafeWalks escort.
SafeWalks is available after 9 p.m every night. It runs until 2:30 a.m. on nights before a weekday and until 3 a.m. on weekend nights.
With SafeWalks, you never have to walk alone at night.
SafeWalks are free and available every night. Just call 217-333-1216 after 9 p.m.
Getting around campus
Campus traffic can get busy, especially when students are traveling to and from class. There are lots of ways to get around campus, but it’s important to observe a few safe practices.
You probably won’t be driving much to classes, but there is a lot of vehicular traffic on campus. All vehicles must follow the laws in the Illinois Vehicle Code. Remember to slow down in high-traffic areas, and do not drive distracted. Yield to bicyclists in the roadway — Bicycles are not required to use bike lanes, nor are they required to move to the side of the road for a vehicle. Treat them like you would any other vehicle. Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. Pedestrians who have safely established themselves in a crosswalk have the right of way.
Bicyclists in the roadway are subject to all laws which apply to vehicles. Bicyclists on the sidewalk are subject to all laws that apply to pedestrians. Whether you are in the roadway or on the sidewalk, you must abide by all traffic signs and signals, like stop signs. Failing to do so is dangerous to yourself and others. Yield to pedestrians when required. Bicycle-pedestrian accidents are common on campus and may result in injury. Slow down in high-traffic areas.
Pedestrians are subject to a number of laws to keep them safe. If there is a sidewalk, pedestrians must use it. Pedestrians must use crosswalks at intersections with traffic signals, and walk only when the walk signal is illuminated. Pedestrians do not automatically have the right of way before they enter a crosswalk. Vehicles do not have to stop for pedestrians who have not yet entered a crosswalk, and a pedestrian must allow enough space for a vehicle to stop safely before entering a crosswalk.
Campus bus routes
The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District is a great way to get around campus and the greater community. Check out their website at mtd.org to get more information about bus routes and helpful tools you can use to plan your trips.
Preventing bike theft
Theft is the most common crime on college campuses everywhere, and ours is no exception. Bicycles are common targets for thieves, but there are a few ways you can avoid becoming a victim of bike theft.
Lock it up — the right way
The best way to prevent bike theft is by locking it up properly. We recommend at the very least using a U-bolt style lock and securing your bike to a rack designed for bicycle storage. The preferred method is to use a U-bolt and chain lock together to secure the bicycle frame and front wheel to a bike rack. Using a chain lock alone is not sufficient, as they can be easily cut or broken.
Register your bicycle
If you are riding a bike on campus, you are required to register it. Doing so is for your benefit — if it’s ever lost or stolen, having your registration information on file makes it easier to get it back to you.
Visit the Project 529 website to register your bicycle.
Project 529 is the university’s bicycle registration program and helps protect your property.
Emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime. It is important to take a moment to prepare in case we are ever in a situation where we need to act quickly to stay safe.
Illini-Alert is used for incidents that present an imminent threat to life, health or safety to the general campus population — like fires, severe weather and if someone is trying to harm others. These messages provide emergency information and instructions for personal protective actions. Illini-Alert sends email, text and Twitter messages.
Everyone with a campus email address automatically receives Illini-Alert email messages, but it’s a good idea to sign up for Illini-Alert text messages so you receive prompt notification of campus emergencies.
Run, Hide, Fight
When we’re faced with any kind of emergency – like fire, severe weather or if someone is trying to hurt you – we have three options: run, hide or fight.
- Run means leaving the area quickly. It’s the best option if it’s safe to do so.
- Hide when you can’t or don’t want to run. This means taking shelter indoors from a storm or concealing yourself from someone who wants to harm others.
- Fight means to defend yourself if it comes to that.
Take a couple minutes to learn more about these options and look at the resources we’ve made available.
Sign up to receive emergency text notifications.
Nationwide, it is estimated that 26.4 percent of undergraduate women and 6.8 percent of undergraduate men experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation. About eight in 10 incidents of sexual violence are committed by an acquaintance or family member of the survivor.
The only person responsible for sexual violence is the offender. There are strategies to reducing your risk of being targeted — maintaining awareness of your surroundings, staying with friends, and trusting your instincts are the best ways to stay safe.
Students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign complete awareness classes and training within their first few weeks on campus, and those educational opportunities continue throughout their college years.
At Illinois, We Care
There are resources and reporting options available for anyone who experiences sexual violence or knows someone who has.
By state law, the police cannot cite you for minor alcohol offenses when you call 911 to get medical assistance for yourself or another person. Additionally, the university has implemented guidelines to protect you from discipline under certain circumstances.
The goal is to encourage students to get help whenever they need it without fear of disciplinary consequences.
Learn more about these protections at go.illinois.edu/amnesty.
Phone and internet scams are common no matter where you are. Be aware of how to identify scams and what to do if you encounter one. Here are the red flags to keep in mind when you receive a call from an unknown person:
- No official will ever demand money. If a caller claims to be a police officer, immigration official, a tax agent, or any other government representative demanding money, the call is likely a scam.
- Scammers try to intimidate victims. If a caller threatens to have you arrested or deported if you hang up, the call is likely a scam.
- Scammers may demand gift cards. If a caller directs you to purchase gift cards or transfer payment in the form of virtual currency, the call is likely a scam.
- Watch out for “spoofed” numbers. Number “spoofing” makes the victim’s caller ID display a legitimate phone number even though the call is originating from somewhere entirely different. If you have doubts about a caller’s identity, you should hang up and call the listed number for that agency to speak to a representative.
We maintain a log of recently reported scams on campus so our community members can know what to look out for.
Download the Campus Safety Guide
All of this information is available in a printable format. Access it below.