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Staying Safe on Campus

East Tennessee State University


iconTheft is the most reported crime on college campuses, East Tennessee State University. Individuals can greatly reduce their chance of becoming victimized by following simple theft prevention strategies

  • Never leave your valuables unattended.
  • Report suspicious persons or activity to ETSU Public Safety immediately.

Theft is a serious problem everywhere and the University is no exception. Because of the diversity on our campus, it has become a favorable place for criminals. The best ally in crime prevention is to provide our community with the proper education, awareness, and crime prevention techniques. Thieves work in office buildings, libraries, restaurants, residence halls, and other places where people gather. Thefts of backpacks, purses, laptops, phones, and other electronic gadgets are the most prevalent crime on campus. By working with the police and following a few common sense recommendations, you can significantly reduce the chances of a thief stealing University or personal property.

Method of Operation of a Thief
A thief will usually stand in the doorway of an office or a dorm room that is unoccupied or unlocked to get a picture of what is happening in the area. When the thief enters the room, he/she will look for a purse or any valuable property in the more obvious places such as:

  1.  on the floor under the desk,
  2.  on the desk,
  3.  in desk drawers or filing cabinets,
  4.  in dresser drawers or closets,
  5.  under the bed.

If the thief does not locate any property within 30 to 60 seconds, he/she will typically exit the room. Thus, many thefts occur immediately after the property is left unattended.

REMEMBER! One of the best ways to prevent yourself from becoming a theft victim is to lock your desk, office, or apartment when you leave and to take your keys with you -- even if you leave for only a few minutes. Most thieves do not stay in a room longer than 60 seconds. In various campus areas, thieves will place themselves in a position of observation or wander with the intent of looking for unattended property. Theft prevention is simple: Do not leave your property unattended, and do not become distracted and inattentive to the point where property can literally be taken from under your nose. Thieves have often preyed upon students who have fallen asleep in the library or study rooms.

Thieves looking for valuables to steal will often search offices, common areas, or apartments where there is little to no pedestrian traffic. He/she will check up and down the hallway to see if there is opened or unlocked office doors. Thieves usually do not operate in a building where most of the doors are closed or rooms occupied.

If you work in an office on campus, you can reduce the opportunities of becoming a theft victim by taking the following precautions:

  • When you are not using your desk, lock it and take your keys with you.
  • If you leave your office, always lock your door, even if you are only going to be gone for just a few minutes.
  • Have all coworkers join together to watch each other's property and offices. If you encounter a suspicious person in your building, ask if you can help them. If the person has legitimate business, he or she will gladly show you identification.
  • A business card is not proper identification - a thief can easily make fake business cards.
  • If a person claims to be looking for someone in the building, make sure that the unknown individual is expected. If the individual refuses to cooperate, call the police immediately to have the person checked out. The police department prefers to investigate numerous reports than to have an avoidable theft incident.

ETSU OperationID
Operation Identification is a national crime prevention project designed to protect your valuables from theft. Students, faculty, and staff of East Tennessee State University are often victims of property crimes. Less than 30 percent of the property taken in thefts is recovered. Most of that property cannot be returned to the rightful owner as it is unidentifiable as belonging to the victim. This means much of the recovered property is donated, destroyed, or shockingly, returned to the thief upon demand when the actual ownership cannot be established. As result, the efforts of the police are neutralized, and the thief profits from the crime with less risk of apprehension.
Your University Police Department is taking positive actions to minimize the risk of theft and to help ensure the return of stolen property should a theft occur. This positive action is Operation Identification. This program has proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, to be a definite deterrent to the potential burglar or thief by assuring him/her the property he/she steals can be identified by the police.
Just a few minutes of your time will help you from becoming a victim of theft and will greatly aid in the return of your item should it become lost or stolen.

Identity Theft prevention tips

  • Shred personal financial documents before discarding them.
  • Do not provide personal or financial information over the phone to an unknown caller.
  • Pay attention to billing cycles.
  • Review monthly credit card and other financial statements for unauthorized use.
  • Be wary of someone looking over your shoulder trying to steal important financial information when using ATMs and phone cards.
  • Do not use your mother's maiden name, your birth date, last four digits, or similar series of numbers as a password for anything.
  • Do not carry your social security card, birth certificate, or passport, unless necessary.
  • Do not print personal identifiers such as your social security number, date of birth, or driver's license number on your checks.
  • Use your social security number only when necessary.
  • Do not respond to emails to requesting personal identifier information. 
  • NEVER give your user name and password to anyone else.
  • ETSU will never ask you to provide this information whether it is in an email or part of a phone conversation.



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