Safety Tips

  • Keep your dorm room secured (locked) at all times whether it is occupied or not.
  • Carry your room key and student ID with you at all times.
  • Never leave cash, jewelry, keys, IPods, MP3's, cameras or personal information CD's lying around in plain view.
  • Secure all important items and paperwork. Invest in a sturdy safety deposit box and store out of plain view.
  • Never broadcast your good fortune, whatever that may be, to anyone.
  • Report any loss, unusual circumstance or change in the appearance of your room immediately to dorm staff and university police.
  • When leaving your dorm or campus for any appreciable length of time, let a trusted friend or staff member know where you are going and when you can be expected to return.
  • Always have a list of your personal equipment (with serial numbers and model numbers) along with credit card and contact numbers stored in a safe place for reporting purposes.
  • When in the classroom, keep your book bag and its' contents along with laptop, PDA's, pocketbook, wallet and calculator in your possession or view at all times.
  • When leaving a classroom to use the restroom, leave your personal property at the front of the classroom or lecture hall in full view of the instructor until you return.
  • If your class is scheduled for a field trip, take your belongings with you if the classroom or lecture hall will not be locked.
  • If the room will be secured for the duration, leave your belongings out of full view from the classroom door or windows. Insure that the classroom will be secured in your group's absence.
  • Cross the street only at intersections and do not jaywalk.
  • Use only marked crosswalks.
  • Do not cross in the middle of the street or between parked cars, as drivers are not expecting pedestrians to cross mid-block.
  • When crossing streets, before you enter the crosswalk, make eye contact with drivers approaching the crosswalk to ensure traffic has stopped.
  • Stop at the curb and look left, right and left again before you step into the street. Be sure to evaluate the distance and speed of on-coming traffic before you step out into the street to ensure that a vehicle has adequate distance in which to stop safely.
  • Remember don't take those "NO RIGHT TURN ON RED" signs for granted and always check for turning vehicles before stepping off the curb.
  • Avoid walking in traffic where there are no sidewalks or crosswalks. If you have to walk on a road that does not have sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
  • At intersections, scan over your shoulder for turning vehicles to make sure that the driver knows you are there.
  • Wear bright colors or reflective clothing if you are walking near traffic at night and/or carry a flashlight.
  • Use extra caution when crossing multiple-lanes for higher speeding vehicles, while paying attention to the on-coming lanes of traffic.
  • Always look for signs that a car is about to move (rear lights, exhaust smoke, sound or wheels turning) and never walk behind a vehicle that is backing up.
  • In foul weather (rain or snow) allow extra time and distance for a vehicle to stop and do not let umbrella or jacket hood block your view of approaching traffic.
  • If your view of approaching traffic is blocked by something, move to where you can see, stop and look left-right-left again.
  • Never run or dash into the street.
  • Watch out for entrances to parking lots to include sidewalks which cross driveways and entrances to them and always check for cars entering or exiting the parking lot.
  • If the intersection has a pedestrian signal, press the button and wait for the pedestrian signal to display the "WALK" indicator, which indicates that it is safe to proceed into the crosswalk. You should continue to be alert for traffic at all times while in the roadway and always check for turning vehicles.
  • A flashing "DON'T WALK" signal means that a pedestrian should not start to cross the roadway and that there is probably not enough time left in the cycle for you to cross the street safely. However, any pedestrian who has partially completed their crossing should finish crossing the street or proceed to a safety island in the same direction in which they were headed.
  • A steadily illuminated "DON'T WALK" indicator means it is not safe for a pedestrian to enter the roadway in the direction of the indication and you are to wait to cross for the next "WALK" signal in order to cross safely.
  • Over one million vehicles are stolen each year and that a vehicle is stolen every 23 seconds?
  • Vehicles are stolen for four basic reasons: joyriding; transportation; to commit other crimes; for commercial gain primarily through chop shops?
  • According to VINshield, New Haven-Meriden ranks fourth in auto theft in Connecticut behind Waterbury , Hartford and Bridgeport with 346.77 vehicles per 100,000 residents?
  • According to State Farm, the vehicles most often taken are Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Maxima? Per VINshield, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Chevy Full-size Pickup top the list.


  • Never leave your vehicle running and unattended. Take your keys with you.
  • Lock your vehicle when it is not occupied and keep all windows closed.
  • Keep all valuables, including cash, out of plain view if you are unable or unwilling to bring them with you.
  • Take registration and insurance information along with gas card receipts with you when not in the vehicle. A stolen vehicle could easily lead to a theft at your residence.
  • If you see any suspicious activity at or near your vehicle, report it immediately to the police and do not confront any stranger.
  • Invest in a security device for your vehicle. Some insurance companies offer discounts for participation in some cases.
  • Some available safeguards include Lojack, vin-etching, fuel cutoffs, ignition column guards, hood and door locks, steering wheel locks, guard plates for trunks, key-operated wheel locks, pedal jacks, the Club, and radio security devices.

Did you know that?

  • a fire doubles in size every thirty seconds?
  • You lose your sense of smell while you're sleeping?
  • Cooking incidents account for nearly 60% of all fires in a residential environment?
  • Hot oil or grease is largely responsible for most cooking fires?

Pay attention to detail.

  • Don't leave cooking appliances unattended and don't walk away from any meal preparation during the cooking process.
  • Keep all flammable items such as paper and cloth products and aerosol containers away from cooking areas.

In many instances, preparing food items can be accomplished over moderate heat in partially-covered cookware. This also controls the amount of steam or smoke that is produced. Food continues to cook after it is removed from the heat source. Simply keep it covered!!

If a cooking incident creates excessive smoke conditions:

  • Vent area by opening a nearby window, not the apartment door.
  • Invest in a small fan to draw smoke toward the open window.
  • If smoke fills the entire room, cover your nose and mouth with a wet towel or cloth and exit room staying low to the floor.
  • Close the door behind you to confine smoke to that area only.
  • When exiting a smoke-filled building, move to the windward side.

Reference information courtesy of USFA, National Fire Protection Association, the Hartford and Science Daily.

It could take a year to 16 months before a victim realizes their identity has been compromised? Protect your 'house'.

  • Don't carry your social security card on your person. Keep it secured at home.
  • Shred all documents containing personal information before discarding in the trash.
  • When away from home for extended periods, have the post office hold your mail.
  • Annually request copies of your credit report from any of the three credit bureaus. You are entitled by federal law to a free report if you are a victim of fraud.
  • Don't leave mail in your mailbox overnight or on weekends.
  • Deposit outgoing mail in U.S. Postal service collection boxes.
  • Sign new credit cards immediately. Do not wait!
  • Keep your hands free at ATM machines. When making entries, cover pad with your hand. Avoid going to an atm with too many 'carry items' in tow.
  • Avoid congested areas near atm's or phones. Beware of 'shoulder surfing'.
  • Don't leave receipts at atm's, gas pumps and financial institutions.
  • Never give out personal information over the phone or online unless you initiated the transaction. Beware of online 'phishing'.

If you suspect that your identity has been compromised:

  • Request that a 'fraud alert' be placed in your file alerting lenders to contact you.
  • Place a password on credit and banking accounts.
  • File a report with your local police department.
  • Contact creditors where a fraudulent account has been opened in your name.
  • File a complaint with the federal trade commission (FTC) at 877-428-4338.
  • If you have been victimized by activity involving theft, tampering or redirection of your mail, contact the u.s. Postal service.
  • Contact the fraud units of experion, trans unionor equifax.

For additional information, visit the following sites:

  • Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (fdic)
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or
  • Social Security Administration (ssa)
  • U.S. Postal service (usps)

Reference material courtesy of U.S. Postal Service, FTC and

The following is guidance and safety tips regarding catalytic converter thefts:

Why do thieves target catalytic converters?
Thieves target catalytic converters because they contain precious metals and are valuable as scrap metal.  Catalytic converters are vulnerable because they’re quick and easy to steal.  Thieves typically use cutting tools and can remove them in just a few minutes.  Catalytic converters are expensive to replace, and can cost on average up to $2000.

Is there a certain type of vehicle that is more vulnerable?
Any vehicle can be a target for catalytic converter theft.  However, low-emission/hybrid vehicles are targeted more often because they contain more of the expensive metals.  Thieves may also target trucks and SUVs because the higher ground clearance allows for easier access.

How do I know if my catalytic converter was stolen?
When you start your car, you’ll know by the unusually loud exhaust noise (rumbling or roaring sound) that your catalytic converter was stolen.  This sound gets louder when you hit the gas.  Go to the back of your car and look underneath.  The catalytic converter is a round canister that connects two pieces of pipe in the exhaust.  You will see a gaping space in the middle of your exhaust if the converter is missing, and you will likely see cut marks where the pipe was cut away.  See photos below.

Catalytic converter
Photo showing catalytic converter still attached
Depiction of a removed catalytic converter
Pipes cut with catalytic converter removed

What do I do if my catalytic converter is stolen?

  • Ask a mechanic if driving your car without the catalytic converter will further damage it. If not, drive only to the repair shop.  If it will damage the car further, arrange a tow to the mechanic.
  • If the theft occurred on campus file a report with the Southern Police otherwise contact the police department where the theft took place. This will help to track the incident should your catalytic converter be recovered by police later on.  Make sure you get a copy of the report for your insurance company.
  • Contact your insurance company to see if the damage is covered. Make sure you have the date and time of the theft, the police report number, and photos of the damaged exhaust pipe where the catalytic converter used to be.
  • While your new catalytic converter is being installed, ask your repair shop about adding an anti-theft device to prevent future thefts.

How can I prevent catalytic converter theft?

  • If feasible, etch your license plate number and/or vehicle identification number (VIN) into your catalytic converter.  This makes it identifiable to law enforcement, and in theory, a reputable scrap metal dealer might decline to buy it.  In short, a thief who sees this may move on to an easier target.
  • Park in well-lit areas and areas with more foot traffic.  Since most of these incidents occur after hours, parking in a well-lit area makes your vehicle more observable, and more difficult for thieves to hide.
  • Install an anti-theft device.  Some auto shops can install a frame or a cage to cover the catalytic converter and shield it from thieves.
  • If your vehicle is equipped with an alarm system, activate it each time you leave the vehicle unattended.  Calibrate it so that vibration sets it off (this ensures that the alarm activates if a thief tries to saw off the converter).
  • Consider installing a motion sensitive dash camera on your vehicle to notify you of any unexpected activity.
  • If possible, park in a garage or other enclosed area that is inaccessible by others.

If you observe any suspicious activity or behavior such as an individual loitering around vehicles, peering into vehicles, trying door handles, or wandering in an area without legitimate business, call the Southern Police Department at (203) 392-5375, 911 or via the Livesafe app.


Content obtained from the University of Hawaii Department of Public Safety.