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University of Iowa News Release

 

Nov. 6, 2008

Rocklin offers safety tips in light of recent assaults

University of Iowa interim Vice President for Student Services Thomas Rocklin is urging students to take precautions in the wake of three recent reports of men assaulting men.

"I, and the rest of the university administration, are concerned about any threats to the safety of our students and to the entire Iowa City population," Rocklin said in a mass e-mail sent to UI students Wednesday. "While our University Police continue to work with the Iowa City Police Department to respond to these and other crimes, we urge everyone to be vigilant and to adopt practices to enhance personal safety."

Rocklin said that while UI and Iowa City police patrols downtown help to deter criminal activity, officers can't be everywhere at once, so safety must be a responsibility shared by students and other people.

In his email, Rocklin offered several safety tips:

--Don't walk alone late night or early morning when it is dark in isolated areas. There is safety in numbers; make it a habit to walk with others.
--People are safest in well-lit areas where there are groups of people.
--Look and act confident, but not aggressive, while walking. Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts.
--If you regularly jog or cycle, vary your route and time, and stay on well-lit roads and main paths with open spaces where you can see and be seen by other people. Avoid wooded areas and adjust your routine to daylight hours if possible.
--Recognize that the use of a cell phone or personal stereo may distract you from paying attention to your surroundings and people acting suspiciously.
--Avoid consuming alcohol or other substances that may impair your judgment or your ability to react to a confrontation.
--Let someone know when you are intending to leave and arrive at a particular destination.

Rocklin said that if a person thinks someone is following, he or she should go to the nearest place where there are other people and/or where the area is well lit and -- if they have a cell phone -- call the appropriate non-emergency police department numbers: 319-356-5275 for the Iowa City Police Department or 319-335-5022 for the University Police Department. In case of an emergency, call 911. And be prepared to give the dispatcher as precise a location as possible.

"If you have speed-dial capabilities, program these numbers into your cell phone," Rocklin said. "And if someone tries to take your property from you, remember that your physical safety is more important than any material object."

Rocklin also urged students to avoid confrontations, verbal or physical, and to remain calm and walk away if challenged. He said he understands how doing so can be particularly difficult for some men.

On the other hand, he said, "Walking away from a situation that may lead to violence and serious injuries is a sign of wisdom, not weakness.  Be wise, and remember, safety is a shared responsibility."

More safety information is available via the University Police Web site http://www.uiowa.edu/~pubsfty/.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Rocklin, Interim Vice President for Student Services and  Dean of Students, 319-335-3557, thomas-rocklin@uiowa.edu