Safety Tips: Personal Safety

UCLA Police Services

911 is a free call from a pay phone. You may also use the blue emergency response phones located around campus.

The UCLA Police Department (310) 825-1491, located at the corner of Westwood Plaza and Circle Drive South, comprises several divisions:

Uniformed Police Officers

Uniformed Police Officers patrol the campus and the surrounding community. They are fully empowered by the state, and have the authority to enforce all state/local laws, and make arrests. Specially designated officers are assigned to patrol University Housing. The Detective Division follows up on crime leads and completes crime investigations. They review cases in depth in order to gather as much information as possible for criminal prosecution.

The Crime Prevention Unit

The Crime Prevention Unit is a campus resource center providing crime prevention and safety awareness programs to the UCLA community. Its services include information, pamphlets, films, and presentations in the areas of bicycle safety and security, disaster preparedness, personal safety, and property protection. Fingerprinting service is also available for a charge.

Community Service Officers (CSOs)

Community Service Officers (CSOs) are additional “eyes and ears” for the Police Department. The Community Service Officer Programs started in 1977 when seven volunteers provided a nighttime escort service. Today, the CSO Programs employ approximately 200 students and provide more than 20 services.

CSOs are best known for providing the Campus Escort Service. This service is available 365 days a year from dusk until 1 AM. Call (310) 794-WALK, and a CSO will be dispatched to walk you safely to your destination. The boundaries of the Campus Escort Service are Sunset, Wilshire, Veteran, and Hilgard (and will even go out to Malcolm on the east side, south of Westholme).

To complement the Escort Service, CSOs provide the Evening Van Service. Five vans operate on a nightly basis and routinely pick up passengers from five designated pick-up areas every 15-20 minutes: Ackerman Turnaround, De Neve Turnaround, Perloff Hall - west side, Young Drive East - across the street and west of Murphy Hall, and Hilgard and Manning - northeast corner. Vans drop off passengers at all pick-up locations as well as a number of designated drop-off locations (generally to the west and south of campus). Additionally, passengers may call (310) 825-1493 to request pick up from most of the drop-off spots, once they have arrived at the location. The Evening Van Service Map can be found at this link.

CSOs patrol a number of buildings and libraries on campus. They patrol in and around the residence halls and suites and provide short escorts between the halls.

Other Services

Bicycles may be registered at the front desk of the police station.

In addition to campus security, state-certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) also provide the campus with emergency medical services. EMTs staff the campus ambulance which responds to medical aid requests 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. EMTs also offer a number of medical education programs such as CPR, EMT Training, and First-Aid Training.

For additional information on any of the services provided by the CSO Programs, call the office at (310) 825-9800.

When to Call the Police

Don’t hesitate to call 911 or (310) 825-1491 whenever you see or hear something suspicious. If you wish to remain anonymous, you may do so.

When calling the police, be prepared to help them help you. Be ready to identify the nature of the incident, the location, time, persons or property involved, and anything unusual or distinctive about the incident or persons involved.

Suspicious Activity

Call the UCLA Police Department immediately about all suspicious activity—and do it yourself. Some people fail to call the police simply because they are not aware of what seemingly innocent activities might be suspicious. Others may notice suspicious activity and may be hesitant to call for fear of seeming “over-reactive” or being embarrassed.

Do not take it for granted that someone else has called. Do not worry about “bothering” the police because they are here to help.

Suspicious Behavior may include

  • Person(s) loitering about at unusual hours and locations.
  • Person(s) running—especially if something of value is being carried. The individual(s) could be fleeing the scene of a crime.
  • Person(s) exhibiting unusual mental or physical symptoms. The individual(s) could be under the influence of drugs, or otherwise needing medical or psychiatric assistance.
  • Person(s) going from room to room trying door knobs. This is possible “casing” for a room to enter and steal property or commit some other crime such as sexual assault.

Other Unusual Situations

  • Open or broken doors or windows which could signify a possible burglary in progress or scene of a completed crime.
  • Unusual noises, such as gunshots, screaming, and anything suggestive of foul play, danger, or illegal activity. When encountering such situations call the police immediately !!!
  • Person(s) sitting in parked vehicles for an extended period of time.
  • A vehicle driving slowly in the parking lot or structure at night with its lights out.

Personal Safety Precautions/Suggestions

Wherever You Live

  • Keep police and emergency numbers near your telephone.
  • Lock all doors and windows whenever you leave. Take your keys with you, even if you leave for only a short while.
  • Keep all doors and windows locked whenever possible.
  • Keep house and car keys on separate rings. When leaving your car for service or in a parking lot, leave only your ignition key.
  • Do not lend your keys to service people or anyone you do not know well and trust.
  • Do not attach your address or room number to your key chain.
  • Always identify visitors by asking for identification before you let them in.
  • If a stranger asks to use your telephone, do not open your door. Instead, offer to call for emergency assistance for him/her.
  • Get to know your neighbors so you can help each other.
  • Report any suspicious or unusual activity by calling (310) 825-1491.

In Student Residences

  • Do not prop open residence doors. Meet visitors at the door.
  • Do not sign in people you do not know and don’t intend on staying with. You are responsible for the people you sign in. Please visit the safety page regarding access for more details.
  • Do not tamper with door locking mechanisms. Never use tape, pins, etc. to keep the door from locking shut.
  • Think about whether you want to leave notes or signs on your door letting people know you are out of your room for extended periods of time. This can alert potential thieves to your absence.
  • Always lock your windows when you leave your room.
  • Always lock your door when leaving, even if only going down the hall or to the bathroom.
  • Do not allow strangers to enter your room/apartment unless they are properly identified. If a stranger does enter your room/apartment, demand that he/she leave. If he/she refuses, create a commotion and leave quickly.
  • Don’t leave large sums of money, jewelry, or valuable items in your room/apartment. Secure valuables elsewhere when on vacation.
  • If you are accosted in a hallway or public area of a residence hall, and feel that you are in immediate danger, dial 911 and explain the situation to the police. Be prepared to give the location of the incident if you have left the vicinity. If the danger has passed, call the police at (310) 825-1491 and explain the situation to them.


  • Lock doors and windows at all times.
  • If necessary, leave spare keys with a trusted neighbor; never leave them hidden around the exterior of your apartment.
  • Always identify visitors before letting them in. Request service people to show proper credentials before you open the door.
  • Report to the police any unusual or suspicious activity, or persons near your apartment or around neighbors’ apartments.
  • Make sure you know your visitor before opening the public door of your apartment.
  • Arrange for service people to come when someone else will be present.
  • In an apartment building, avoid isolated areas (stairways, laundry rooms, basement, etc.) when you are alone.

Walking Alone, Off-Campus

  • Use a well-traveled route.
  • Walk purposefully, briskly, and keep moving.
  • Walk in the center of the sidewalk—away from buildings, doorways, hedges, and parked cars.
  • Walk on the side of the street facing on-coming traffic. If a car pulls next to you going the same way, reverse your direction.
  • Avoid traveling the same route every day.
  • If a stranger/solicitor tries to engage you in a conversation, use discretion before stopping to talk. It may be helpful to say you are in a hurry to meet someone.
  • Be aware of individuals that look suspicious or are passing you in the opposite direction. Observe their movements and look behind you as they or after they pass you.
  • Have the key to your home ready as you approach.
  • If you are dropped off by a taxi or automobile, ask the driver to wait until you are safely inside.

Walking Alone, On-Campus

  • Avoid dark, vacant or deserted areas. If you are followed or see suspicious activity, move to a lighted building or area and raise a commotion. Dial 911 or activate a Police Emergency Alarm (the blue call-boxes).
  • Avoid walking alone at night, if at all possible. Call the Campus Escort Service (310) 825-1493—a free call from most libraries on campus. Have a friend escort you both ways, or wait for a campus van.
  • Be alert, observant and aware of your surroundings and of other people on the street with you.
  • Carry a noise-making device and have it ready to use.
  • Be cautious of jogging alone, day or night, even in populated areas with street lights. Since most people will be indoors, help could be delayed if you are in trouble.
  • If you jog with a portable audio device, cover only one ear so you can hear around you.
  • Be aware that hitchhiking is a high-risk activity. Think ahead of alternative transportation.
  • Wear clothes and shoes that will allow you to move quickly.
  • Tuck gold chains and other jewelry inside your clothing as these items might attract a criminal’s attention.
  • If you carry a purse, briefcase or backpack, keep only a small amount of cash in it. If possible, do not carry a purse.
  • Carry your keys, your identification and anything else of value on your person.
  • Keep your keys in hand when you are moving about at night.
  • Report any suspicious person or circumstance to the police (310) 825-1491.

Transportation Options

Be aware of transportation options available to get around on campus (those listed below are free of charge):

Campus Express is available Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. and runs every 5-10 minutes. For more information call (310) 206-2908.

Evening transportation for individuals with disabilities is provided by the Community Service Officers. For more information call (310) 825-1493.

Campus Escort Service is available from dusk to 1:00 a.m. and from all campus locations. For more information call (310) 794-WALK.

When Driving

  • Have your key ready when you approach your vehicle and check to make sure no one is hiding inside.
  • Drive on well traveled streets and never pick up hitchhikers.
  • Keep your car in gear while it is stopped.
  • Keep all doors and windows locked.
  • Park in well-lighted, designated parking areas.
  • Keep all valuables out of sight in your trunk.
  • Keep change in your car for emergency telephone calls.
  • If you are deliberately forced to stop your vehicle, lock the doors, roll up the windows, and sound the horn for help. If you are followed or harassed by someone in another vehicle, drive to a police department, fire station, or open business and seek help. Do not drive into your driveway or park in a deserted area.
  • If you are followed as you turn into your driveway at night, stay in your car with the doors locked until you identify the occupants of the other car. Sound your horn to get help.
  • If your car breaks down, raise the hood; then stay inside with the doors locked. If someone stops to help, do not open your window or door or accept a ride. Ask them to call for help.
  • If you see a parked vehicle requiring assistance, do not stop. Go to a telephone and call for aid for them.
  • Keep an aerosol tire inflator in your car for emergencies.

Using Public Transportation

  • Wait for the bus at a well-lighted stop when possible.
  • Be alert. If possible, stand with your back against a wall so you cannot be grabbed from behind. Stand away from the curb so you cannot be pulled or pushed into a vehicle.
  • Let the driver and other riders know if anyone on the bus harasses you or makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Notice who else gets off at your stop. If you feel you are being followed, try to draw attention to yourself by walking in the middle of the street, yelling, getting to a public area, etc.

If You Sense A Potential Threat

  • Assess the situation, then take action.
  • Move away from the potential threat. You will have to decide how immediate the threat is and how drastic your action should be.
  • Join any group of people nearby. Cross the street and increase your pace to move away from imminent danger.
  • Go to a well-lighted public place and call the police immediately.
  • If you believe a threat is imminent and you see people nearby to help you, yell, scream, or make a commotion in any way you can. Remember, the blue Police Emergency call boxes and the fire alarms on campus are part of the personal safety system.
  • If you see someone else in trouble, call the police immediately.
  • After you have avoided a threat of crime, call the police and report any and all details of the incident: Describe the suspect: appearance, clothing, height, weight, coloring, scars or marks; Where the incident took place; If the suspect was on a bicycle or in a car, describe the vehicle, license plate number, and direction of escape.

Using Elevators

  • Avoid entering an elevator occupied by a stranger. If you are waiting with a stranger for an elevator, stand away from the door to avoid being pushed inside.
  • Always stand near the control panel.
  • If someone in the elevator with you makes you feel uneasy, get off at the next floor.
  • If you are accosted in an elevator, hit the alarm button and as many floor buttons as possible.

If You Are The Victim

  • Although your safety is maximized when you follow security precautions, you may still be the victim of attack. Your reaction can affect whether or not you are harmed. You will have to make snap decisions, so you should think now about how you might react under a variety of circumstances. Are you prepared to scream and yell? Will you use physical force? What might you use as a tool of defense?
  • If you are facing an armed criminal, the risk of injury may be minimized by cooperating with his/her demands. Avoid sudden movements and give the criminal what he/she wants.
  • If you think your life is in immediate danger, use any defense you can think of (screaming, kicking, running). Your objective is to get away, and you are the best judge of what action you should take.


Solicitation is not allowed. Report solicitors to the Front Desk or, in University Apartments, to the Police. If a solicitor approaches you, jot down a description and call (310) 825-1491 immediately. If you feel you or others are in danger due to the solicitor, call 911 and explain the situation. Do not confront the solicitor on your own.

“Peeping Toms”, Bathroom Intruders

After discovering a “peeping tom” or bathroom intruder, it is usually best to yell out, but don’t try to confront the offender. He may panic and react in an unpredictable manner. If the offender runs away, do not follow him, but do take note of the direction to which he goes.

Move to a safe location as quickly as possible.

Try to get a good description of the offender. If he speaks to you, remember what he said and how he said it.

Report the incident immediately to both the police and On-Campus Housing personnel. Remember: your safety is your primary concern.

Telephone Safety

Think about the information you give out over the telephone and to people you don’t know well. For example, if a caller gets a wrong number, do not offer information about yourself, your address, or your telephone number. Discuss with your roommates or family how to handle these situations.

  • It is good practice to indicate that you are not alone in speaking to someone on the phone or in person (e.g., “we are busy now” or “my roommate will be back in a minute”).
  • Give thought as to how you are listed in the telephone directory and on your mailbox. Some women use two initials and a last name only, others use a “masculine” first name, others have an unlisted number.

The best response to an obscene phone call is to hang up as soon as you realize the nature of the call. Don’t talk. What the caller really wants is an audience. Don’t slam down the receiver and therefore admit that the call bothers you. Just hang up as you would normally.

  • Hang up if the caller doesn’t say anything, or on the first obscene word, or if the caller doesn’t provide identification to your satisfaction.
  • If calls continue, don’t hesitate to call the UCLA police, at (310) 825-1491. Keep a log of when the call(s) were received, exactly what was said by both parties, and a description of the voice (young, old, hoarse, accent, etc.)

Moped and Motorcycle Safety

The Student Health Center is seeing an increasing number of serious moped and motorcycle related accidents. It is now mandatory (state law) to complete a California Highway Patrol approved training course before obtaining a motorcycle/moped license. Call UCLA Crime Prevention Unit or DMV for more information.

The California Vehicle Code defines a motor-driven cycle as:

  • Motorcycle: any motor vehicle other than a tractor, having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, and designed to travel on not more than 3 wheels in contact with the ground, and weighing less than 1500 gross lbs.
  • Motor Scooter: any motorcycle with a motor which produces less than 15 gross brake horsepower. This also includes bicycles with a motor attached to them.
  • Moped: any two-wheeled or three-wheeled device having fully operative pedals for propulsion by human power, an automatic transmission, and a motor which produces less than 2 gross brake horsepower, which can travel at a maximum speed of less than 30 miles per hour.

Anyone operating any two-wheeled motorcycle or motor scooter must have a Class 4 driver’s license to operate the aforementioned vehicles.

A Class 4 motorcycle license can be obtained at any Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) by taking a written test and driving ability test. The nearest DMV is at 2235 Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica.

Moped and Motorcycle Safety Tips

  • The wearing of a helmet, while riding a motorcycle, motor scooter, or moped, is now required by law.
  • Do not carry passengers, unless the vehicle is designed to carry two people.
  • Make sure that all required safety equipment (headlights, brake lights, brakes, mirrors, etc.) are in the proper working condition.
  • Obey all traffic laws - i.e. stop signs, right of way, and avoid lane sharing.
  • Avoid oil spills and wet roadways: these obstacles can cause the driver to lose control of the motorcycle, motor scooter, or moped.
  • Don’t let unlicensed or inexperienced drivers operate your motorcycle or motor scooter.
  • Watch out for cars making sudden lane changes, or turns.
  • It is recommended that you drive with your headlights on (better chance of being seen by drivers of cars and trucks).
  • Wait for pedestrians to clear cross-walks; don’t try to drive around them.
  • Look to make sure the lane is clear before changing lanes.
  • Obey all speed laws; travel at a safe speed.
  • Be alert for opening car doors.
  • Don’t carry oversized loads on motorcycles or motor scooters.
  • Wear appropriate clothing when riding a motorcycle/motor scooter (i.e. pants, shoes, heavy jacket, etc.).
  • Maintain a good distance between you and the cars around you.
  • Most important of all: Don’t Drink and Drive.

The University of California Police Department wants you to live a long and productive life. Don’t become a potential organ donor: wear a helmet and drive safely.


Awareness of your surroundings, your environment and your physical and mental capabilities are essential in avoiding dangerous situations. Your awareness of your surroundings is severely prohibited when you are on the phone, listening to music, mentally focused on something other than the present moment. Visit UCLA Recreation’s self-defense website for more information about awareness levels, self-defense tips (and tip-sheets), and how to sign-up for various levels of self-defense classes.