The USC Department of Public Safety (DPS) has noticed an increase in residential burglaries occurring off campus. Burglars tend to target homes or apartments with unsecured doors and/or windows. Some of the burglaries have occurred when the resident was at home asleep. As we approach Winter Recess, please review the below tips to avoid becoming the victim of a burglary.
General tips to protect your home
Protect your house, apartment or dorm room from burglars. Burglars are opportunists and look for an easy target.
• Always secure your doors and windows.
• Keep your room door closed, even when leaving for a short time or visiting a friend down the hall. It only takes a few seconds for someone to enter an unsecured room.
• Don’t let anyone into your building who you don’t know.
• Report incidents of “piggybacking” to DPS immediately. Piggybacking is when someone you don’t know follows you into your building. Often times, “piggybackers” stand by the building entrance waiting for someone to open a locked door.
• Don’t leave doors propped open.
• Secure or hide your laptop computer when away from your room.
• If you see something – say something!
While you are away from your residence
• If you are away for a long period of time, leave lights, a TV or music on to give the illusion that you or your roommates are at home.
• Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy offer a variety of low-priced home security devices that can be controlled from your smartphone, such as Wi-Fi-ready light bulbs, home security cameras with a mobile app, and motion sensor alarms.
• When possible, keep your bicycle indoors. If you prefer to keep it outside, lock it to a stationary object such as a bike rack. Be sure to lock the front AND rear wheels to the frame of the bicycle. A U-Lock is recommended.
• Report suspicious individuals or activity immediately to DPS at (213) 740-4321 (UPC) or (323) 442-1000 (HSC), or via the Trojan Mobile Safety App, LiveSafe. You also can call 911.
What about lighting?
• Research has proven that brighter communities are safer communities. Criminals don’t want to be seen or heard. Make it uncomfortable for them!
• Turn your porch light on at dusk or use a light equipped with a dusk-to-dawn feature.
• If you are leaving and are planning to return after dark, make sure to turn your porch light on before you go.
• External lights allow you to see suspicious individuals and/or suspicious activity.
• Talk to your landlord or building manager about any lights that aren’t working.
LiveSafe, managed by DPS and the USC Department of Fire Safety and Emergency Planning, is a free downloadable app that mobile users can use to initiate contact with emergency responders around the University Park and Health Sciences campuses. For more information on downloading this app, visit: https://dps.usc.edu/services/safety-app/.
If you are in immediate DANGER, call the Los Angeles Police Department at 911 or the USC Department of Public Safety at (213) 740-4321.
Please note that race, ethnicity, gender and/or religious affiliation are NOT considered the basis for suspicion; only behaviors are considered suspicious.
If you have information relevant to the crime(s) reflected in this alert, immediately call DPS at (213) 740-6000 for the University Park Campus (UPC), (323) 442-1000 for the Health Sciences Campus (HSC) or (213) 485-6571 for the LAPD Southwest Division.
The purpose of this warning is to aid in the prevention of similar crimes by alerting the community about the incident and to provide information which allows individuals to make informed decisions about their personal safety.
USC Department of Public Safety Recommendations
- If you feel you may be in danger, immediately go to a safe location and report the crime to law enforcement. Call DPS emergency for UPC at (213) 740-4321, for HSC call (323) 442-1000, or call 911 for LAPD.
- If you observe a crime in progress, STAY CALM AND CALL DPS emergency for UPC at (213) 740-4321, for HSC call (323) 442-1000, or call 911 for LAPD. Do not attempt to apprehend any suspects or perpetrators of crime. Your personal safety and the safety of others around you should be your primary concern.
- Not every person you meet has good intentions. Be cautious of strangers and keep a safe distance. There is safety in numbers, so travel with friends.
- Avoid using cell phones or other technology while walking as criminals target distracted, inattentive individuals using them.
- Be a good witness : It is important to recall what you observed and provide as many details as possible to law enforcement such as: the sex, race, age, height, hair color, clothing, tattoos, scars of any suspects and a description of the make and model of any vehicle used in the crime and its license plate if possible.
- Do not attempt to apprehend any suspects or perpetrators of crime.
Other options to contact DPS, to report crime, ask for help and to receive information:
- Blue light emergency phones are located throughout UPC and HSC. The phones are connected to the USC DPS’ 24-hour communications center and identify the phone location if the caller is unable to speak. The phones can be used to request help, an escort, report suspicious activity and to report crimes. For more information visit: Emergency Blue Light Phones | Department of Public Safety | USC.
- Security Ambassadors : In addition to DPS officers who patrol a 2.5 mile radius around USC’s campuses, USC contracts with “Security Ambassadors” to patrol street corners in nearby neighborhoods and to observe and report crime and suspicious activity. This security force wears bright yellow jackets so you can easily spot them. If you need assistance, look for a Security Ambassador.
- Get a Ride: Lyft is now available at HSC and UPC to cover shared rides. Lyft at UPC is open from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week. Lyft at HSC is open from 5 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Friday only. Please visit the USC Lyft page for more information: https://transnet.usc.edu/index.php/campus-cruiser-program/how-to-use-lyft/
- Verify your driver and car: Once you have requested a Lyft ride, you can view the driver’s rating. When your ride arrives, make sure the driver’s photo, license plate number and vehicle description match. Never take a ride you did not request or get into a car that doesn’t match the details provided by the Lyft app.
- Go the extra mile: The Lyft app’s “share your ETA” function allows you to invite friends to see your trip in real-time. The app will draft a text message you can share with friends that includes your ETA and a link to a live map that allows them to track your trip. Too much effort? Call a friend and stay on the line while you’re in the car instead.
- LiveSafe APP: To quickly make emergency push button calls to DPS or 911 on your mobile phone, download the Trojan Mobile Safety APP “LIVESAFE” from Google Play or the Apple iTunes Store. For more information regarding LIVESAFE visit https://dps.usc.edu/services/safety-app/.
- TrojansAlert: Register for USC’s emergency notification system TrojansAlert t o allow university officials to contact you during an emergency by sending messages via text message and email. For more information visit: http://dps.usc.edu/services/trojans-alerts/. (Please note that students, staff and faculty automatically are signed up for TrojansAlerts.)