College of Arts and Sciences

Year-End Safety Precautions

December 7, 2010

MACOMB, IL -- It's that time of year again. Many people may be running low on funds, and according to Western Illinois University Office of Public Safety (OPS) officials, some people choose to do their holiday "shopping" at the expense of others.

OPS reminds University employees and students to guard personal property by locking offices, desks and room doors when leaving, even for a few moments, to avoid becoming a victim of the "Five Finger Discount."

• Students should lock their rooms when they leave, even if it's just for a few minutes. The majority of thefts reported to OPS involve unlocked residence hall rooms. Faculty and staff should lock personal belongings, such as purses and wallets, in their desk drawers when leaving their offices, and lock the office door if they are able to do so.
• Don't leave backpacks, purses, bags or books unattended.
• Avoid leaving items in plain view in a vehicle overnight.
• Don't leave laundry unattended in the laundry rooms.

In addition to securing belongings, individuals should -- just like any other time of the year -- safeguard themselves:

• Trust your instincts and use good judgment.
• Use common sense. Avoid being alone or with someone you do not know.
• Communicate to others where you are going and with whom.
• Be aware of your surroundings.
• Walk in groups whenever possible.
• Travel in populated, well-lit areas.
• Use Go West, the University's transit system, or the after-dark OPS escort service.
• Avoid the use of alcohol and drugs -- they impair good judgment.

Western's Student Patrol is available to provide escorts on campus during the evening to early morning hours. Student Patrol can be reached by calling OPS at (309) 298-1949. If a Student Patrol member is not available, OPS officers will also provide escorts on campus.

There are 51 emergency callboxes at strategic locations throughout campus. Without dialing, the caller is immediately in contact with OPS; the location of the call is automatically recorded and response is almost immediate. Public Safety may also be reached in an emergency by dialing 9-1-1 from any campus phone. In a non-emergency, the number is (309) 298-1949.

If you have concerns or questions or need to report a crime or suspicious behavior, please call OPS immediately or visit Mowbray Hall at any time. Individuals who have a comment or an issue can also file a report at You can also find additional campus security information at

Posted By: WIU, University Relations
Phone: (309) 298-1993 * Fax: (309) 298-1606