Campus safety tips as we make our way through winter

Let’s talk about a few ways to stay safer during these dark winter days

College campuses are amazing communities and provide us all with a sense of comfort. However, just like other parts of the city, crimes can occur on campus, and this is the first installment in a quarterly series of stories in Western Today and videos shared on social media where I will share safety tips to hopefully help you feel safer in this incredible learning community. 

Always know that the members of the Western Washington University Police Department (WWUPD) are proactively out and about being seen on campus to be the first deterrent in crime. While proactively providing safety and security to our campus, we are also ready to be of assistance when called. We need you, our WWU community, to assist us in keeping you safe.  

So, let’s talk about a few ways to stay safer during these dark winter days. 

Walk with confidence  

As you make your way across campus, keep your head up, walk at a steady pace and make eye contact with those around you – making eye contact with others can portray you as less of a target because you will be seen as confident and self-assured. For those that find this uncomfortable, that is okay – you can still walk with confidence by keeping a steady pace and not wearing earbuds or headphones that would block out the sound of unwanted attention. If earbuds or headphones are needed to assist with your confidence, keep the volume at a reasonable level or leave one ear bud out. 

Phone a friend 

Let someone know you will be walking when it is dark or anytime you travel through a less densely populated area. Provide them with an estimated time of arrival and the path you will be taking. Someone else having this information means they can send help if you fail to arrive when expected and having someone know your route means that in the event of an emergency, they will have an idea of where you may be. Some smartphones also let you share your location with trusted contacts, which could be a friend, family member or co-worker. 

Walk the extra mile 

Avoid shortcuts through alleys, woods, parks, or dimly lit areas – sometimes the longer path is the safer path. Fewer people, fewer streetlights, and more places for danger to hide increases your risk and should be avoided where possible. Also, stay aware of your surroundings and limit distractions. Study the route you will be taking before you begin the walk. Have your phone ready in case you need to call someone for assistance but avoid letting it distract you. View this video to see the upgrades that were made to the lighting on parts of campus; the new LED lights make a HUGE difference. 

Use the buddy system 

If possible, avoid walking alone when it is dark. Find another student or group to walk with. While not being distracted by your phone was previously mentioned, at times you may need to FaceTime a friend to “walk” with; continue to be aware of your surroundings and your head is up. You also have the choice to contact WWUPD and ask for an escort – either a Green Coat student worker or campus police officer will be sent to walk with you or provide a vehicle escort. The phone number for WWUPD Dispatch is (360) 650-3555 – never hesitate to call! 

See something, say something 

If you see something, say something. Some people may be comfortable directly confronting or questioning someone about a suspicious act. For many this is not the case, and we at WWUPD are here to respond, so call us. Taking this proactive approach helps in the reduction of crime, prioritizes individual safety, and the safety and well-being of our community. Safety is a shared responsibility, and we each play a role in providing a culture of safety for our community. Doing this we can create an environment where we all thrive, are confident in ourselves and one another, and improve overall well-being. 

Contact me

UPD is here for you - to keep you safe and to help you however we can. Never hesitate to reach out to me with any thoughts, concerns or ideas you have - it's why I am here. You can reach me at!