Theft Prevention

Robbery is a crime of opportunity that can be reduced through awareness and prevention. Whether you’re at home, in a car or walking, taking a few precautions will lower your risk of becoming a victim.

General Tips

  • The majority of robbers are serial criminals who will continue their actions until arrested. If you see someone or something suspicious, contact DPS immediately.
  • Keep expensive items out of sight. Avoid showing your wallet or wearing expensive jewelry when you know you’ll be out walking. Don’t leave your phone or purse on the seat of your car.
  • Read our extended section on getting around campus safely.

At Home

  • Lock your doors and windows, even when you’re at home.
  • If you notice someone loitering outside your building or residence and it seems suspicious, report them to DPS immediately.
  • Buy renter’s insurance. If you’re living in an apartment, you should insure your property. Renters insurance is affordable and much less expensive than paying to replace your property out of pocket.

In Your Car

  • Don’t leave anything valuable in your car. Take everything with you, even if you’re just leaving your car for a few minutes. If you must leave something of value in your vehicle, lock it in the trunk (and make sure no one’s watching as you do so!).
  • Keep your car organized and free of clutter. You may know that duffel bag just contains gym clothes, but a robber only sees an overstuffed bag sitting on your back seat. The messier your car is, the more tempting it looks.
  • When ever possible, park in secure lots. Most break-ins around USC occur on city streets. Parking in a USC lot cuts down on risk. If you must park on the street, pick highly trafficked areas.

On Foot

  • Find a buddy. Whenever possible, don’t walk alone. The larger the group, the less chance you’ll be targeted.
  • When walking alone, skip using headphones or taking phone calls. Robbers often target people they notice are distracted or unaware of their surroundings.
  • Don’t walk alone at night. Utilize the USC Lyft Ride Program for access to free rides provided by Lyft.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings. Take note of where you are and who’s around. Look behind you. Trust your instincts–if your route seems unsafe, don’t take it.
  • Avoid unlit or deserted areas. They make you uncomfortable for a reason. Even if that alley is your favorite shortcut in daylight, at night opt for the long way home where there are streetlights and other people.


  • Always lock your bike to a secure rack. Bike racks are designed to prevent bicycle theft. Telephone poles are not. If there’s no room at a bike rack, find another one nearby. USC has many bicycle racks conveniently located throughout campus.
  • Register your bicycle with DPS. In the event your bicycle is recovered, this will expedite the process of returning it to you.
  • Invest in a U-bolt lock. Bicycles secured with chain or cable locks are easier targets.
  • If possible, avoid securing your bicycle in isolated areas. The more people around, the less likely your bike will be stolen. If you plan to leave your bicycle overnight, make sure you pick a secure, well lighted, and highly visible location.