Crime Prevention and Risk Reduction
Risk Reduction Strategies
Risk Reduction Strategies are options designed to decrease perpetration and bystander inaction and to increase empowerment for victims in order to promote safety and to help individuals and communities address conditions that facilitate violence.
We list here a few examples of risk reduction strategies. These and others are discussed during our sexual assault prevention programs. If you have questions about these strategies, ask the Director of Security or the Title IX Coordinator.
- Understand the fundamental importance of consent in any sexual activity.
- Refrain from consuming alcohol and drugs. Under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you might not notice that the other person does not give consent to sexual activity.
- Be aware of what procedures and services are available for victims of sexual or relationship violence. Help victims to find the services they need.
- Listen empathetically if someone is about to share their story of abuse with you. If you are a Mandatory Reporter and/or Campus Security Authority (CSA), warn them beforehand that you have to report the incident to the appropriate officials in the University. If you are not a CSA or Mandatory Reporter, keep their story confidential and never discuss it with other people, unless you are asked to by the victim. Remember that abuse or violence is never the fault of the victim.
- Do not tolerate any kind of violence or abuse around yourself. As a bystander, do not look away when you witness signs of approaching sexual violence or relationship violence. Try to find an effective form of bystander intervention which you are comfortable with. In conversations and when appropriate, be vocal about that any non-consensual sexual activity is intolerable.
- Improve your understanding of what is abuse or violence in a relationship. If you believe that you abused emotionally, physically, or sexually your partner or someone else before, and you need help to change your behavior, consider counseling.
- Improve your understanding of what is respect and support in a relationship.
- If you believe that you have been abused in a relationship or sexually assaulted, and you need support to recover and/or break out of a pattern of abusive relationships, consider counseling.
- Do not engage in any kind of abuse or violence—including verbal abuse. Your tolerance to or participation in bullying, horseplay, or other inconsiderate or harmful behavior might create a microenvironment that could make other people think that abuse or violence is tolerated in this community.
- Understand that people from different cultures might approach relationships differently. We enjoy and welcome the cultural diversity on our campus, nonetheless, we require that everyone follows the norms of the federal and state law and our University policies.
Here, in conjunction with our crime prevention strategies, we also would like to add a few points about how we can avoid becoming a victim of sexual violence or other violent crimes.
- Trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn’t the best place for you to be. Always listen to your gut.
- Don’t allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don’t trust or someone you don’t know.
- Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged and that you have alternative ways of transportation, e.g. you have a friend to call or have money for a taxi.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you find a way to get out of a bad situation.
- Try to avoid isolated areas. It is more difficult to get help if no one is around.
- Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking, running, or biking alone. Wearing headphones might expose you to traffic accidents, as well.
- Walk with purpose. Even if you are unsure about the direction, act as you do. You also can pretend that you are on the phone with someone. Talking loudly projects that you are self-confident and strong.
- When you go to a social gathering, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, check-in with each other throughout the evening, and leave together.
- Don’t leave your drink or food unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call. If you’ve left your drink or food alone, just get a new one.
- Watch out for your friends and ask your friends to watch out for you. If a friend seems out of it, is way too intoxicated for the amount of alcohol they’ve had, or is acting out of character, get him or her to a safe place immediately.
- If you suspect you or a friend has been drugged, contact law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S). Be explicit with doctors so they can give you or your friend the correct tests (you will need a urine test and possibly others).
- Keep your eyes open to identify escape routes. How would you try to get out of the room? Where are the doors? Windows? Are there people around who might be able to help you?
- If you need to get out of an uncomfortable or scary situation here are some things that you can try:
- Don’t feel obligated to do anything you don’t want to do. “I don’t want to” is always a good enough reason. Do only what feels right to you and what you are comfortable with.
- Have a code word with your friends or family so that if you don’t feel comfortable you can call them and communicate your discomfort without the person you are with knowing. Your friends or family can then come to get you or make up an excuse for you to leave.
- If you don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings, it is better to lie and make up a reason to leave than to stay and be uncomfortable, scared, or worse. Some excuses you could use are: a friend or a roommate is waiting for you, you need to take care of a friend or family member, not feeling well, you need to be somewhere else, etc.
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