Safety Tips

Vehicle Safety Tips

  • Do not leave items of value visible in a parked car.
  • Park in well-lighted areas designated for parking.
  • Look into and around your vehicle before entering it.
  • Drive on well-traveled streets.
  • Keep all doors locked.

Property Safety Tips

  • Opportunity theft is the direct result of property and valuables left unattended and unsecured, even for short periods of time, which provides a thief with the opportunity to steal your valuables. Opportunity thefts are the most preventable crimes that occur.
  • Never leave personal property such as books, wallets, pocketbooks, cash, jewelry or bicycles unattended and unsecured.
  • Never leave laptop computers, calculators and other items of value unattended in library areas.
  • Lock the doors to your room, office or lab when you leave, even if it is only for a few minutes. Most reported thefts occur in unlocked areas.

Identity Theft

  • Do not give out personally identifiable information over the phone or Internet, such as bank account numbers and social security numbers.
  • Only shop with companies you know. Always use a secure browser.
  • Limit personal information on necessary public distribution items like checks and business cards.

When you go to work, don't leave your crime prevention sense at home. Almost any crime that can happen at home or in your neighborhood can happen in the workplace. But common-sense prevention skills can help make life at work safer for all.

Help prevent office theft and other crimes. 

  • Keep your purse, wallet, keys or other valuable items with you at all times or locked in a drawer or closet.
  • Check the identity of any strangers who are in your office. Ask them who they are visiting and if you can help them find that person. If this makes you uncomfortable, inform security or management about your suspicions.
  • Always let someone know where you will be, whether you're arriving or working late, going to the photocopier or mail room, going out to lunch or to a meeting.
  • Mark your personal items. 
  • If you bring personal items to work, such as a coffee pot, a radio or a calculator, mark them with your name or initials and an identification number.
  • Report any suspicious activities or conditions. 
  • Report any suspicious individuals, broken or flickering lights, dimly lit corridors, doors that don't lock properly or broken windows. Don't wait for someone else to it.
  • Be discreet. Don't advertise your social life or vacation plans and those of your coworkers to people visiting or calling your place of work.

Take a look at common trouble spots in the office. 

When you are in a reception area: 

  • Is the receptionist equipped with a panic button for emergencies, a camera with a monitor at another employee's desk and a lock on the front door that can be controlled?

Stairwells and out-of-the-way corridors: 

  • Don't use the stairs alone. Talk to the building manager about improving poorly lit corridors and stairways.

When you are in elevators: 

  • Don't get into elevators with people who look out of place or behave in a strange or threatening manner. If you find yourself in an elevator with someone who makes you nervous, get off as soon as possible.

When you are in rest rooms.  

  • Attackers can hide in stalls and corners. Make sure rest rooms are locked and only employees have keys. Be extra cautious when using rest rooms that are isolated or poorly lit.

Other tips for staying safe at the office 

  • Don't work late alone. 
  • Create a buddy system for walking to parking lots or public transportation, or ask security to escort you.
  • When you are in parking lots or garages, choose a well-lit, well-guarded parking garage.
  • Always lock your car and roll the windows up all the way. If you notice any strangers hanging around the parking lot, notify Campus Safety or the police. 
  • When you approach your car, have the key ready. Check the floor, front seat and back seat before getting in. Lock your car as soon as you get in and before you buckle your seat belt.

Hood College is a great place to learn and grow. But any college campus, like any other community, has its share of accidents, crimes and injuries.

What should I know about safe practices on campus? 

Your safety at Hood starts with you. Do your part to protect against: 

  • Crime - Assault, murder, sexual assault, burglary, vandalism, auto theft and other crimes can endanger members of the College community.
  • Fire - On campus or off, a fire can destroy property and injure or kill people.
  • Alcoholic beverages and other drug problems - Too often, students don't realize the tragic effects of alcoholic beverages and other drug use until it's too late.
  • Accidents - Motor vehicle crashes and other accidents claim more young people's lives than all other causes combined.

People working together can do a lot to guard against campus hazards. Here's how... . 

  • Always follow campus fire rules.
  • Smoking - Be sure ashes are cold before dumping them. Never leave a burning cigarette, cigar or pipe unattended. Smoke only in designated areas.
  • Electrical Appliances - Irons, space heaters, hot plates, etc., should never be left unattended. Wait for them to cool before storing.
  • Open Flames - Follow campus rules about candles, incense, bottled gas appliances, etc.
  • Flammable Liquids - Most campuses ban them from residential buildings. If allowed, they should be used and stored according to campus rules.
  • Electrical Circuits - Too many cords plugged into one outlet can result in a dangerously overloaded circuit.
  • Trash - Store and dispose of trash properly so there's no chance of fire.

Know What to Do in Case of Fire on Campus. 

Know the Location of: 

  • Fire extinguishers - Understand the correct types and how to use them.
  • Fire alarms - An alarm sounded immediately can protect property and save lives.
  • Fire exits - Know where they are and be sure they open easily and are free of trash or clutter.

If You Discover a Fire: 

  • Sound the alarm or call the switchboard immediately at ext. 3111
  • If there's no alarm, pound on doors and shout on your way out.
  • Leave the building immediately and direct the fire department to the fire.
  • Never enter a burning building.

If You're Inside:  

  • Use the fire exits. Never use an elevator.
  • Crawl to stay beneath smoke if necessary.
  • Don't open the door if the door knob or door is hot.
  • If you can't leave a room, open windows at the top and bottom, hang something out the window to attract attention and shout for help.
  • Don't jump from above the second floor.

A Safe Campus Is Everyone's Right and Responsibility!

Stalking, cyberstalking and harassment are criminal offenses under Maryland state law (MD Criminal Law Code 3-802; 3-803; HB 593; Annotated Code of Maryland, Article 27, 121B). Stalking, cyberstalking and harassment are prohibited at Hood College.


Stalking is the willful, malicious and repeated following or harassment of another person with the intent to annoy, alarm or frighten. Stalking often occurs after a person has broken up with a partner, or if one person wants a romantic relationship and the other does not.

Stalking can occur for other reasons as well, and the stalker may or may not be known by the victim. Stalking is taken seriously by the College and is always viewed as potentially dangerous.

Stalking behavior examples:

  • Repeated, unwanted phone calls, mail or email of a harassing or disturbing nature
  • Threats prompting fear for one's life or safety
  • Threats prompting concern for the safety of one's family, friends, roommates or others
  • Behavior such as unwanted following or encounters that cause apprehension

How to handle stalking behaviors:

  • Immediately notify campus security, your RA and/or friends about your concerns. Don't hesitate.
  • Notify your appropriate campus administrator.
  • Walk with friends and use campus security escort services.
  • Document phone calls, keep letters and save email communications as evidence of harassment.

To assist in tracing phone calls, keep a record:

  • Date and time of calls?
  • How often, number of calls?
  • Did you recognize the voice?
  • Male or female voice?
  • Background noises or sounds?
  • What did the caller say?
  • Campus security, the telephone company or "Caller ID" can assist in tracing calls. Do not attempt to record phone calls. It is a violation of Maryland law to record a conversation without the permission of all parties in the conversation.

If you have any reason to think that you may be in any physical danger, immediately call campus security (301-696-3111) or local police (911).

Cyberstalking and Safety 

The increased popularity of the Internet and cell phones with enhanced features such as photo and video has created new means of communicating. Email, texting, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and the like are leading to on-line and off-line relationships. Cyber stalking is a new phenomenon that compromises personal safety. In Maryland, cyberstalking is a criminal offense.

Guidelines to assist in safe online communication:

  • Anonymity is best. If someone doesn't know who or where you are, you are at least physically safe. Don't be tricked into revealing your name, location, phone number or any other identifying information about yourself.
  • Better safe than sorry. If you decide you would like to meet an online contact in person, bring a group of friends with you and meet during the day in a public place. Get references from the person, including work contacts, friends and family. The worst thing you can do is keep your online interaction a secret. Keeping it out in the open means other people will be able to look out for you.
  • Trust your instincts. If you ever get an uncomfortable feeling online, break off contact.
  • Do not delete. If you receive an isolated, unwanted online advance or message that is neither threatening nor hateful, you may choose to ignore it. If, however, you receive any threatening or hateful message or repeated nonthreatening ones, notify campus safety and/or appropriate College administrators promptly. Senders who are a serious threat are usually persistent and do not easily give up. Do not delete any upsetting message you receive. Saved messages may be of value in tracing and prosecuting an online attacker.

Ways in which Hood College can assist if you have been stalked or harassed:

Each case is different and requires a response tailored to its specific facts. Some steps that have proved useful in prior cases include:

  • Disciplinary action against the person engaging in harassing or stalking behavior
  • Banning the individual engaging in harassing or stalking behavior from campus
  • Assisting the person experiencing harassment or stalking with writing letters or writing letters on his/her behalf to invoke protection of the harassment statutes
  • Assisting the person experiencing harassment or stalking with contacting law enforcement authorities
  • Identifying, evaluating and preventing individuals from engaging in harassing behaviors

Many Crimes Can Be Prevented if You: 

  • Trust your instincts
  • If you suspect something is wrong, or a situation seems dangerous, you may be right! Don't dismiss suspicious people, cars or situations. Report them to campus safety immediately.
  • Avoid dangerous situations
  • Don't invite trouble. Use your best judgment about where you go and what you do.
  • Work with the police and courts

People working together can prevent and solve many crimes. 

Protect Yourself at Home 

  • Lights: Leave at least one on, inside and out, when you're away. If you're away, use a timer to turn lights on and off.
  • Unwanted calls: Don't give out personal information such as your name or address. If you have an answering machine, use it to screen unwanted calls. Notify the police or phone company of threatening or harassing calls.
  • Strangers: Install a peephole, if possible. Don't open the door for strangers, unexpected repair people, deliveries, etc. Always ask for a company ID. Call to verify it, if you're suspicious.
  • Make friends in the neighborhood: Watch other houses or apartments, and let your neighbors know of anything that's suspicious. Offer your phone to neighbors for emergency use, and use theirs when necessary. Keep in touch with your neighbors.
  • Doors and locks: Keep doors locked at all times. Buy high quality locks, dead bolt, mortise or auxiliary locks and use them! Be sure any door and window that locks can be opened quickly if there's a fire.
  • Elevators: Get on with a group, if possible. Stand away from the door while waiting alone. Don't ride an elevator alone with a stranger. If you're uncomfortable with a stranger, get off immediately. Stand near the control panel, and hit the alarm button and floor buttons, if necessary.

If You Think Someone Is Inside your Home: 

  • Don't go in. Call the police from a nearby phone.

Protect Yourself on the Street 

  • Dress appropriately: Avoid flashy clothes, jewelry or furs. They might attract unwanted attention. Dress so you can walk or run easily to avoid an attack.
  • Walk with someone: Stay alert to those around you. If you must walk alone, walk confidently. Go into a public place if you need to ask directions. If you think you are being followed, change directions and go to public spaces.
  • Walk near people: Avoid isolated areas, parks and parking lots. Shortcuts may save you time, but they may expose you to danger, too.
  • Protect your valuables: Carry only what you need with you. Carry necessary valuables close to your body. Don't set them down. Carry a wallet in a front or inside pocket, instead of a purse. If you carry a purse, hold it close to your body.

If You're Being Followed 

  • Be suspicious.
  • Turn to look at the person. This gives you time to plan your strategy. It also lets the person know you won't be taken by surprise.
  • Change directions: If someone is following you on foot, cross the street and vary your pace. If the person is in a car, turn and walk in the opposite direction.
  • Go into a store or other public place: If the person follows you, ask to use the phone to call the police.

Responding to an Attack 

In any situation, your goal is to get away safely.

  • Evaluate the situation: Look around. What is the quickest escape route? Are there sources of help available? Get the attention of others.
  • Stay alert and focused: Listen and observe carefully so you can make the best decision now and provide important evidence later.
  • Decide how you want to respond: Every situation is different. Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself. Screaming, hitting or biting may give you a chance to escape. Do whatever is necessary to survive! Don't give up.
  • Give up your valuables: If the attacker wants your valuables, give them up. Valuables can be replaced, your life can't.

After the Attack 

  • Work with the police.
  • Keep emergency numbers handy.
  • Keep a list near the phone and in a wallet or purse.
  • Notify campus safety or police of suspicious activities.
  • Report cars, people, deliveries, etc., that seem suspicious.
  • Stay alert.
  • Remember the time, the person's appearance, height, weight, clothing, scars, hair, etc. The car's make, color and especially license number. Write information down as soon as possible.
  • Press charges.
  • If you're the victim of any crime, assist the police in prosecuting the criminal. Don't take chances with your personal safety!