Safety Tips

Protect yourself in Residence Halls

  • Lock your door, even if you're only leaving for a minute.
  • Lock your door when you are sleeping, napping or leaving for an extended period of time.
  • Keep your CUA Identification Card and room keys secured. Immediately report stolen or missing CUA I.D. cards and keys to Housing Services and campus police.
  • Secure your valuables. Keep money, wallets, jewelry, handbags and other valuables out of sight.
  • Never admit strangers into your room or hall. When in doubt, request a CUA ID.
  • Never prop open exterior doors.
  • Immediately report suspicious persons or activity to the campus police. Report any strangers loitering in or around residence halls.

Protect yourself when working or studying after normal business hours

  • Never remain alone in isolated or unoccupied areas, including classrooms, libraries and other buildings. Notify the campus police of your location and expected departure time.
  • Make sure all outside entrance doors are locked.
  • Keep your area locked. Don't let anyone else in the building.
  • Call for an escort if necessary.

Protect yourself on and off campus

  • Stay alert, confident and aware of your surroundings. Walk purposefully and make eye contact with people around you. Trust your instincts.
  • Avoid alleys, short cuts and vacant lots. Stick to well-lighted, busy streets.
  • Walk with a companion whenever possible.
  • Avoid displaying large amounts of cash. Use ATM's during daylight hours only.
  • If you are being followed, abruptly change directions, stay in a well-lit area and seek safety in a public building.
  • Make noise, attract attention to yourself and the person that is following you.
  • If on campus, locate the nearest emergency telephone. Off campus, dial "911".
  • After dark, or when there's concern for your personal safety, call the campus police at 202-319-5111 for an escort.
  • Use the campus shuttle/loop bus service.
  • Know the location of emergency telephones.

Vehicle Safety

  • Do not leave items of value visible in a parked car.
  • Park in well-lighted areas designated for parking.
  • Look into and around your vehicle before entering it.
  • Drive on well-traveled streets.
  • Keep all doors locked.

Protect university and personal property

  • Avoid thefts of opportunity. Leaving your property and valuables unattended and unsecured, even for short periods of time, provides a thief with the opportunity to steal.

Opportunity thefts are the most preventable crimes that occur.

  • Never leave personal property such as books, wallets, pocketbooks, cash, jewelry or bicycles unattended and unsecured.
  • Never leave laptop computers, calculators and other items of value unattended in library areas.
  • Lock the doors to your room, office or lab when you leave, even if it is only for a few minutes. Most reported thefts occur in unlocked areas.
  • Take advantage of "Operation Identification" by marking your valuables in some distinctive fashion. Engravers are available at campus police headquarters.
  • Register your bicycle with the campus police. Registration fee will be waived.
  • Immediately report suspicious persons and activity to the campus police by calling 202-319-5111.

> More safety tips.
> More information about the Metropolitan Police Department.

Laboratory Security Policy

Laboratories contain valuable research equipment, samples, work in progress, notes and data. They also contain potentially hazardous materials, such as chemicals, biological agents and radioactive substances. All of these university assets must be protected from unauthorized access, mishandling or removal.

The principal investigator of a lab has overall responsibility for protecting these university assets. However, all faculty, students and staff who access the labs are expected to take precautions to protect against theft or misuse of items found in the laboratories. Security measures should correspond to the potential risks and must not unduly hamper research.

At The Catholic University of America, we apply the following approaches to security:

  • Limit building access through exterior doors. Buildings with laboratories will be accessible through main entrances. Other entrances normally will be locked from the outside but will be usable as exits.
  • Limit access to laboratories.
  • Safeguard documents, equipment and materials of concern.
  • Use sound computer security practices.

In order to safeguard personnel, the facility and data/materials, all laboratory personnel are, at a minimum, to comply with the following security procedures:

  • Question the presence of unfamiliar/suspicious individuals in laboratories and/or building common areas. Report all such persons (i.e., without CUA ID) and suspicious activity immediately to the Department of Public Safety at 202-319-5111.
  • Keep laboratory doors closed and locked, unless someone responsible is actually present.
  • Do not give laboratory keys to contractors; contractors doing work in a lab must be let in and monitored continually by a responsible individual from CUA.
  • Secure important research documents and experimental materials (e.g., lab notebooks, samples) in locked areas. Store hazardous substances in locked cabinets when these items are not in active use.
  • Keep a detailed inventory of all hazardous substances (chemical, biological and radioactive) and have it readily available for review.
  • Never share your computer password with anyone. Lock up computer disks containing sensitive information or data. Log off or shut down your computer when you are away from it, and if you have any reason to suspect that anyone is trying to gain access to your files, change your password and report your suspicions to public safety.
  • Report missing materials, documents, samples, etc. immediately upon discovery to public safety.

Normally, open laboratory building exterior doors are secured after normal business hours.  To minimize the likelihood of unauthorized access, all after-hours building users must:

  • Avoid providing building access to unfamiliar individuals.
  • Secure doors behind themselves.
  • Report any building security issues to public safety immediately after securing your own safety.

Research and/or other activities involving the use of lab space, materials or equipment may only be done with the knowledge and approval of the responsible principal investigator. Violation of this prohibition may result in severe disciplinary action.