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Special Checks of Residences

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

Winter Break 1997 (12/20/97 to 01/11/98) is approaching quickly. Traditionally, this is a time of lower occupancy and greater opportunity for crime. Therefore, in order to reduce the opportunity for crime (burglaries, criminal mischief, etc.), the Division of Public Safety is offering to conduct Special Checks of Residential Properties during the following time period:

5 p.m. on Friday, December 19, 1997 to 7 a.m. on Monday, January 12, 1998

Faculty, staff and students who live in the following geographical boundariesthe Schuylkill River to 43rd Street and Baltimore Avenue to Market Streetmay list their residence with the Penn Police Department for Special Checks during the period it will be vacant.

Penn Police officers will periodically check the exterior of the property for signs of criminal activity or security breaches. If any problems are discovered, the officers will take appropriate action ranging from arresting the perpetrator to conducting an interior check of the property with subsequent notifications to the listed occupant.

If you would like to list your residence for Special Checks during Winter Break 1997, please pick up an application at the Penn Police Headquarters, 3914 Locust Walk, or the Special Services Unit, 206 S. 40th Street. You need to complete and return the application to either location prior to vacating the premises. Below you will find safety tips and security tips to help keep your time away from Penn a safe and happy one. Wishing you peace and joy this Holiday Season.

--Susan A. Hawkins, Director, Special Services

Safety and Security Tips for Winter Break 1997

To keep this Holiday Season happy and joyous, and the New Year full of hope and promise, here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

If you are leaving Penn for Winter Break:

  • Secure or remove all valuables (i.e., jewelry, computers, stereos, televisions, etc.). All valuables should already be engraved with your Social Security or other identifying number. Engravers are available at the Special Services Unit office (206 S. 40th Street, 898-4481).
  • Close and lock all windows; close all shades, drapes and blinds. Lock and bolt entrance doors to rooms or apartments.
  • Use timers on lights and on a radio or television to give your residence the appearance of being occupied.
  • Register your residence with Public Safety for Special Checks during the Break.
  • Your answering device message should never indicate that you are not at home. Always use plural nouns even if you live alone (e.g., "we're not available to take your call right now"). Don't use your name(s).
  • Make sure that your exterior lighting works and turn all lights on. Preferably, exterior lights should be on a timer or photoelectric cell. If not, contact your landlord with regards to installing these security devices before you leave for Break!

Attention, to those who live between these geographical boundaries:

33rd to 49th Streets
Market to Woodland Avenue

The Lighting Rebate Program through the West Philadelphia Partnership makes 50% reimbursement for the purchase and installation of new energy-efficient exterior lighting on residences. Call 898-1946 and leave your name/address on the tape to get detailed information about the program, which runs until 12/31/97.

If you are remaining at Penn during Break:

  • Use one of the ten automated teller machines (ATMs) located inside University buildings and avoid withdrawing money at night. Check the amount withdrawn only after you are safely inside your office or residence. Never display money in a crowd.
  • Carry only necessary credit cards and money.
  • Carry your wallet in an inside coat pocket or side trouser pocket. Carry your handbag tightly under your arm with the clasp toward your body. Never let it dangle by the handle.
  • Keep your wallet or handbag closed and with you at all times. Never place it on the seat beside you, on the counter next to you or under a seat when dining.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Trust your instincts. Stay in well-lighted and well-travelled areas.
  • Walk with your head up, shoulders back and your eyes scanning the people around you.
  • Use the "buddy" system or the Penn Transit System when travelling at night. From non-University exchanges, dial 898-RIDE for the vehicular escort service or 898-WALK for the walking escort service between the hours of 6 p.m. and 3 a.m. daily.

Please note: The Penn Transit System will not be operating from 12/24/97 (Wed.) to1/2/98 (Fri.). However, full vehicular escort services will resume on 1/3/98 (Sat.). PennBus will resume service 1/5/98 (Mon.).

  • If you are expecting guests or workers, do not open your door until you know it is the right person(s). Always ask to see identification of callers you don't know.
  • If accosted, don't resist! Don't panic! Stay calm and get a good description of the assailant (i.e., race, sex, approximate age, height, weight, clothing description, direction travelled, etc.) and report the incident to the police as soon as possible.
  • Know the locations of Penn's Blue Light Emergency phones. Open the box, lift the receiver or push the button to talk.
  • Report any suspicious behavior or activities as soon as you can: where, what, who, when and how.
  • Know your Emergency Telephone Numbers.

Key Numbers for Safety

Emergencies On Campus: 511 Philadelphia Police Department
Emergencies Off Campus: 573-3333 18th Police District, 5510 Pine Street
Non-Emergencies: 898-7297/7298 Emergency Telephone Number: 911
Special Services Unit: 898-4481 General Business Number: 686-3180
24-hour line
898-6600 SEPTA Police Department
Penn Investigators: 898-4485 Emergency Telephone: 580-4131

Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, December 16, 1997, Volume 44, Number 16