UW Police

Crime Prevention Tips

Bike Theft Prevention Tips

CLICK HERE to register your bike with the UW Police Department.

  • Never leave your bike unlocked even for a minute. Take time to make sure your bike is properly secured. Secure the lock through the frame and both tires.
  • Don’t park in dark or infrequently traveled areas.
  • Check out the UWPD’s engraver (return within 72 hours) to place identifying marks on bikes or electronics.

The majority of the bicycles stolen on campus are locked with cable locks.

  • Use a U-Lock instead of a cable lock. U-Locks are solid steel and are very hard to cut. Cable locks can be cut easily. If you prefer to have a lock that is flexible like the cable lock, make sure that it is at least 3/8″ in diameter. You can purchase locks at any of the local bike shops in town.
  • Don’t secure your bike with a cheap lock.
  • Always secure your bike to a bike rack or solid object. Secure both wheels and frame.
  • Remember that locks are only a deterrent.
  • Report all suspicious persons loitering around bike racks by calling 911.

If it can be removed, it can be stolen!

  • Quick release tires and adjustable bicycle seats are good examples of parts that are stolen easily. You may ask, “Why would anyone want to steal a bicycle seat?” To sell to someone who has a bicycle without a seat! It’s an ugly cycle.
  • Engrave identifying markings on anything removable to aid in recovery, but better to secure your bicycle parts so that they cannot be removed easily.
  • Remove the quick releases altogether and bolt the parts onto the bicycle; this may make changing a flat tire harder but will slow down and deter thieves. Or remove quick release parts when you park and take the parts with you. Or use Loctite Red Thread locker; you will need heat and a wrench to remove the bolt.
  • To protect your wheels, always lock them with a strong lock.

Registering your bike can improve the chances of it being recovered if it is stolen: CLICK HERE to register your bike with the UW Police Department.
Learn more about what you can do to prevent bike theft on campus on our Love Your Bike crime prevention page.

Identity Theft Prevention Tips


  • “Opt Out” of receiving pre-screened credit card offers by calling 1.888.567.8688.
  • Order a copy of your credit report frequently (www.annualcreditreport.com).
  • Remove your name from mailing, telephone and email solicitation lists.
    • Mailing/Telephone Solicitation:
      Mail Preference Service OR
      Telephone Preference Service
      Attn: Preference Service Manager
      Direct Marketing Association
      P.O. Box 3079
      Grand Central Station, NY 10163
    • National Do-Not-Call Registry:
      By telephone, call 1.888.382.1222
      (Home & cell phone numbers)
    • Pre-approved credit cards:
      Call toll-free 1.888.567.8688
      (will be requested to provide social security # for processing)
      To file a complaint about suspected violations, email
      fccinfo@fcc.gov, or call 1.888.225.5322.
  • Place a continuous credit “fraud alert” on your credit report.
  • Get a locking mailbox for incoming mail and use a USPS drop box for outgoing.
  • Place a hold on your mail when going on vacation.
  • Have banking checks mailed to your financial institution.
  • Keep a list of all your account numbers and the telephone numbers in case of loss/theft.

If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft

  • Close all affected accounts immediately. Request that they indicate “closed at consumer’s request.”
  • Call police and file a report. Get a copy for your records and to submit as proof to all creditors.
  • Contact all creditors/banks/credit reporting agencies.
  • Complete an I.D. Theft Affidavit.
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report that requires creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts.
  • Stop payment on outstanding checks.
  • Request new ATM/credit cards.
  • Change all passwords and PINS.
  • Contact your Postal Inspection Service if you believe your mail has been tampered with.
  • Set up a folder to keep a detailed history of the crime. Keep a log of all your contacts and make copies of all documents.
  • Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to see if another license was issued in your name.

ID Theft Resources

3 Major Credit Reporting Agencies

Laptop Theft Prevention Tips

  • Do not leave your laptop in a vehicle. If you must, secure it in the trunk of your vehicle before getting to your destination.
  • Don’t leave a meeting or conference room without your laptop. Take it with you or it may not be there when you return.
  • Lock your laptop in your office or work area after hours or put the laptop in a locked closet or cabinet.
  • Require all visitors at your department to sign in before allowing them into your work area.
  • Consider installing a theft recovery tracing device on your computer, so if it’s lost or stolen you have a greater chance of getting it back.
  • Never carry your laptop in an obvious laptop bag or carrying case. These are immediate flags for would-be thieves.
  • Never leave your laptop unattended, even for a moment.
  • Purchase insurance coverage for your laptop.
  • Secure your laptop with a security cable.
  • Be certain to back up all important data daily. The hardest thing to replace when a laptop is stolen is the lost data.
  • Protect the data and access of the computer with a strong password or a hardware key device. Hardware key products include fingerprint identification devices and other access control devices that plug into the USB port.
  • Register your electronics with UW Police Department at https://police.uw.edu/community-engagement/loveyourstuff/electronics-registration/.

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Parking Lot Safety Tips

  • Walk to your vehicle in pairs or in a group.
  • Follow a well-lit pathway or roadway when walking to your vehicle.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Watch for suspicious people and or activities as you walk to your vehicle.
  • Use the NightRide shuttle service 206.685.3146, the Hospital Security Officers escort service 206.598.4082 or Husky NightWalk 685.WALK.
  • Be aware of the locations of all campus emergency telephones. Use them if you are concerned or feel your safety is in jeopardy.
  • When you enter your vehicle, lock all the doors and turn on your headlights. This will allow you to see anyone outside in the dark.
  • If you are unfamiliar with the parking lot, drive through it and check it first. If you don’t feel safe go elsewhere and park in a location where you feel comfortable.
  • Have your keys in your hand so that you don’t have to search for them when you reach your vehicle.
  • If you know that you will be returning to your vehicle when it’s dark outside, park in parking lots that are well-lit. If you can, park underneath a streetlight.
  • Visually inspect the inside of your vehicle before entering to make sure that no one has entered it.
  • Report any suspicious activity to the UW Police Department.

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Personal Safety Tips

  • At night, stay in well-lit areas and use routes that are more heavily traveled.
  • Carry a safety whistle. Whistles are available at no cost from UWPD. If you are in trouble, you blow your whistle to attract attention. If you hear a whistle being blown, immediately call 911 to report the location of the incident.
  • Avoid walking alone through isolated areas, such as shortcuts through parking lots and deserted parks.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Campus Safety shuttle service and use it when you feel uncomfortable walking alone. NightRide 206.685.3146. Husky NightWalk 206.685.WALK.
  • Familiarize yourself with the locations of the Code Blue Emergency telephones on campus and the yellow emergency call boxes located in the parking garages.
  • Be aware of what is going on around you. If you suspect you are being followed, indicate your suspicion by looking behind you. If you are on foot, cross the street, change directions and head to a well-lit area or a place with people as soon as possible, such as a residence or academic building.
  • Follow your gut instincts. If your intuition tells you that you are at risk, leave the situation quickly. If you see someone suspicious in a parking lot, building or anywhere on campus, leave the area and call the UW Police at 911 from any campus phone. 911 calls from pay phones are free.
  • If you enter an elevator and the person riding with you is making you uncomfortable, leave. Get off before the door closes or leave at the next floor.
  • Use the buddy system. When with a friend at a party, agree to watch out for each other and to leave the event together or in a group.
  • Should you become a victim of a crime, call the police as soon as you safely can.

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Residence Hall Safety Tips

  • Residence halls are restricted to the students who live there and their visitors only, so don’t allow strangers to enter behind you.
  • Never give out your residence hall neighbor’s personal information to a stranger who is asking where they live. A stranger or ex-boyfriend/girlfriend may try to obtain the whereabouts of a person to harm them.
  • Lock your doors at all times even when you are just going next door to visit a friend or to the bathroom. Most thefts only take one minute. Unlocked doors are a favorite target for thieves.
  • Lock your doors while you are inside for personal safety. Be aware of who is at your door. Use your peep hole if you have one to observe the person at your door. If you don’t recognize the person, you should not open the door. Have the person leave any information at your door and retrieve it when you feel safe.
  • Do not tamper with your door locking mechanisms. Never use any object(s) to prevent your residence hall room door from closing and/or locking, such as trash cans to prop doors open or tape to keep the door from locking.
  • Never leave entry/exit doors propped open. Propped doors could allow an unauthorized person to gain entry into your residence hall.
  • Lock your windows while you are away, especially if you live on the ground floor. Keep blinds closed to avoid advertising your life.
  • Report lost or stolen residence hall keys immediately.
  • Get to know your residence hall neighbors. This will make it easier to identify a stranger lurking around inside of your hall.
  • Avoid leaving messages on your door advertising your absence. This serves to alert thieves as well as your friends. Also consider removing your name if it is posted on your door.
  • Temporarily stop daily deliveries to your door when you are away, and ask a neighbor to pick up any items that may arrive unexpectedly at your door.
  • Report all suspicious people and/or activity to the UW Police Department. Dial 911 from any campus phone. 911 calls from pay phones are free.

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Responsible Drinking

If you’re of legal age and plan on drinking…

Before you go to a party:

  • Leave at home any excess valuables that you won’t need (excess cash, credit/debit cards, etc.).
  • Designate a sober friend.
  • Eat a full meal.
  • Set a drinking limit, tell your friends and stick to it.
  • Don’t take antihistamines. Alcohol does not mix with this ingredient in many cold, flu and allergy medicines. The two together can cause severe central nervous system depression.
  • Don’t take any aspirin or Tylenol (Acetaminophen).  Both increase the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream.

At the party:

  • If you’re the designated friend, watch out for your buddies: don’t let them leave the party alone. And don’t assume an unconscious/passed out person will “sleep it off.” Call 911.
  • Look around. Not everyone drinks. It’s okay not to.
  • Switch between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Watch your drink. If you set it down and leave the area, throw the cup away. You don’t know what’s been put in it while you were gone. Likewise, don’t trust a drink that you did not pour or watch someone else make in front of you.
  • Leave with a sober buddy (or two), especially if you’ve been drinking in the last hour. Your blood alcohol level will continue to rise for 20 to 40 minutes after your last drink.

Walking home from the party:

  • Leave with the friends you attended the party with.
  • Know who is around you and stay in well-lit areas.
  • Keep your eyes on the path you are taking: wait until you get home to text your friend.
  • Trust your instincts and call for a ride if you feel uneasy about walking home at night.
  • Know the name of the street you’re walking on and your direction of travel. If you need an emergency response, you will need to know your location.
  • Let your friends know where you are going and when you expect to get there. That way if something does happen, someone will know the path you took and s/he can tell emergency responders.

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Scam Prevention

The two most common scams reported to the UWPD are:

  1. Fake Check Payments
    You try to sell something online or sublet an apartment, and the “buyer” gives you a check for more than the asking amount. The “buyer” asks for cash back. You give the cash and when you try to cash the check, you find it’s fake! In a different version of the scam, a stranger walks up to you and says they will give you a check in exchange for a smaller amount of cash. Of course, the check is bad but you only learn that after you try to cash it and a day or so later your bank informs you, it was a bad. Note that your bank or ATM might initially accept the check. This does not mean the check is real! Sometimes it takes days for a bank to process a check.
    TIP: If someone you don’t know offers you a check in exchange for cash, refuse this “opportunity.”
  2. Arrest Warrant/IRS Scam
    Scammers create a fake Caller ID, which allows them to appear to be calling from the police, FBI or other law enforcement agency. They say there is a warrant for your arrest, but you can pay a fine to avoid arrest or deportation. Or the caller claims to be from the IRS, seeking back taxes. Know this: Neither the IRS nor the police will contact you by phone asking for money. The IRS only sends snail mail.
    TIP: Hang up! Concerned that you do owe back taxes? Call the IRS directly at 1.800.829.1040. Concerned that you do have an unresolved warrant? Check with the court or your local law enforcement agency–but be prepared that you may be arrested.

Other scam prevention tips:

  • Don’t be pressured into making fast decisions.
  • Research the business before doing business with them. Check them out on the Better Business Bureau site: www.bbb.org.
  • Never provide personal info (address, date of birth, banking information) to people you do not know.
  • Don’t click on links from unsolicited email or text messages.
  • If you are unsure about a call or email that claims to be from your bank or utility company, call the business directly using the number on your bill or credit card.
  • Never send money by wire transfer or prepaid debit card to someone you don’t know or haven’t met in person.
  • Never send money for an emergency situation unless you can verify the emergency.

See more tips under Identity Theft Prevention.
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Suspicious Person Behaviors

Suspicious people are people you do not recognize that you see:

  • Entering rooms, offices and labs with no apparent business there.
  • Tampering with door locks, windows, bicycles and vehicles.
  • Working on bicycles still locked up for a long period of time.
  • Appearing to be scared, nervous or anxious.
  • Peering inside windows.
  • Waiting outside near building entrances during opening or closing hours.
  • Carrying weapons, such as knives or guns.
  • Hanging out in restrooms for a long period of time.
  • Lingering in hallways for a long period of time.
  • Refusing help.
  • Sleeping on chairs, furniture or the floor. (Use discretion during exams.)

If you see a suspicious person in your building, ask if you can help them. If the person has legitimate business in the building, he or she will appreciate your offer of help. When you call the police regarding a suspicious person, be prepared to describe the person and his/her direction of travel.
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Traffic Safety Materials

Vehicle Safety Tips

      • Lock your vehicle every time you leave it. Make it a habit. A criminal will always pick the vehicle that is easiest to get into.
      • Don’t leave your windows rolled down, not even a crack.
      • Many crimes at the UW target vehicles in parking lots. Don’t leave vital information in your car. Your registration and insurance cards contain personal home information that allows a criminal to target your home or perpetrate identity theft. Carry these documents in your wallet or your purse.
      • Park your vehicle in well-lit areas. Criminals don’t like to be seen. Parking under or near a streetlight will improve other people’s view of your car. It also improves your personal safety.
      • Mark your valuables with a personal number. If personal property is stolen from your vehicle, a number or marking (such as a driver’s license number) will help the police trace the item back to you. Make sure the mark is permanently affixed, so the criminal cannot erase it. Never use your social security number as a personal number to engrave on your property.
      • Don’t leave valuables in view for a thief. The famous saying “out of sight, out of mind” is applicable here. Take valuables with you or put them in your trunk before getting to your destination. Do not put them in the glove box or under your seat as those are the first places a criminal will look.
      • Affix your parking permit to your windshield. Parking permits are one of the most popular items stolen at colleges and universities. Make it more difficult to steal by sticking it to your windshield.
      • Invest in a car alarm. A criminal does not like to be seen. Calling attention to your vehicle, if something is wrong, will deter a thief from attempting anything further.

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