How to stay safe both on and off campus
Henry Ford College has two of the safest campuses in the state, and our Campus Safety team collaborates with the entire community to keep everyone safe.
Campus and community safety is everyone's responsibility. Here are some tips to help you remain safe, and to keep our shared community safe and secure.
Always be aware of your surroundings. If you see anything suspicious, contact Campus Safety immediately. "See something, say something!"
To remain alert and aware, you may wish to avoid using your cell phone or electronic device such as a tablet, music player, or headphones while you are walking on campus.
Avoid loaning your personal possessions, such as your cell phone, tablet, laptop, or other devices, to strangers. If a stranger asks you for your phone, you have options. You can offer to make a call for them, or you can refer them to Campus Safety for assistance. You should never feel obligated to turn over your device to a stranger, or allow them to use it.
Keep your personal possessions with you or locked up at all times. Do not leave your laptop, cell phone, purse/wallet, books, coat, keys, or any other possessions unattended or out of your line of sight for any period of time -- even if you are just taking a break or going to the restroom. If you like your possessions, lock them up, or keep them with you at all times.
When possible, walk with someone else at night. Campus Safety offers SafeWalk, 313-845-9630, if you would like someone to walk you to your car or across campus at night.
Be sure to lock your car when it is parked. If you are sitting in your car when it is parked, you should still lock the doors.
Make sure someone always knows where you are and when to expect your return. Have a plan for them to reach out to you if you are late, and a plan for what to do if you do not respond.
If you witness harassment or discrimination, do not confront the harasser. Support the targeted person by standing (or sitting) with them and talking to them, as a way of providing solidarity and connection. If the incident continues or becomes threatening, contact Campus Safety at 313-845-9630 for help.
Guidelines for meeting strangers
When meeting with strangers for any reason, whether it is to buy or sell goods, or for personal or social reasons, please follow these safety guidelines:
Personal safety when meeting a stranger
Before you meet a new person
- Set up your meeting in a well-lit, public place where others will be present. A police station lobby, a shopping center, a restaurant, or similar location is recommended. Make sure you have a safe, easy path to exit the location quickly if you need to. It is often helpful to go to the meeting place in advance, so you’re comfortable with the location.
- Avoid meeting at homes, apartment complexes, or isolated / unfamiliar locations.
- Do not agree to last-minute location changes for the meeting, and do not meet in an isolated area.
- Park your car near other cars, not in an isolated place. If you are meeting at night, park in a well-lit area.
- Bring a trusted friend with you if possible.
- If you must go alone, tell a friend where you are going, what your specific plans are, and when you will return. Arrange to exchange text messages with your friend at specific times. You may also use a location-tracking app so your friend can follow your location.
- Do not wear flashy jewelry or carry expensive items (such as an expensive camera).
- Do not keep large amounts of cash on your person or in your purse or wallet.
- Avoid using alcohol or drugs before going to your meeting.
- When buying or selling personal goods, use a verified payment method like PayPal or a certified check. It can take up to 30 days for a bank to determine if a check or money order is fraudulent. You may choose to use an app like Venmo, Zelle, or a service from your financial provider. Arrange the method of payment in advance with the other person.
When you are meeting a new person
- Keep your mobile phone charged, turned on, and in your hand, so you can make a call if you need to.
- Do not wear earphones or earbuds.
- Do not allow a stranger to get close enough to touch or harass you physically. It is perfectly acceptable to say to a stranger, “I don’t know you. Please don’t come any closer.” If they move too close to you, walk away, and if they continue to pursue you, leave the area or call 911 or Campus Safety.
- When buying and selling goods, electronic payment is recommended (see previous section). However, if you have agreed to pay cash for an item, bring the exact amount of cash, and keep it separate from your purse or wallet, so you do not have to pull the money out of your purse or wallet. (An envelope is handy for this). For greater safety, be sure to bring a friend who can help you observe the situation, and leave if necessary!
- Do not hand your phone to a stranger. If they say they don’t have a phone and need to make a call, either dial the number for them and make the call yourself, or tell them you're sorry you cannot let them use your phone.
- Stay alert. If you feel uncomfortable during your meeting for any reason, leave, even if you have not completed your business.
- If you become uncomfortable and cannot safely leave immediately, turn on your phone's camera and videotape the situation, making sure to tell the other person you are using video. Even better, activate your phone's video app to make a video call to a friend. Tell them what's happening.
- If an emergency arises or you are in danger, call 911 and do your best to leave the area safely.
Vehicle, driving, and personal safety
Winter weather: driving and automotive safety
- Check your tire pressure, and the tread on your tires. Replace tires if there is little tread left. (The minimum amount of tread can be measured by taking a Lincoln penny, facing you, with Lincoln's head facing down inside the tire tread. If you can see Lincoln's entire head, you need to replace your tires immediately.)
- Make sure your engine oil is at the recommended levels.
- Check your washer fluid, and make sure the reservoir is full and the jets are clear.
- Replace your wipers if you haven't done so for a long time.
- Make sure your heater and defroster are working at optimal levels.
- Make sure your car battery is in good shape and will hold a charge even in cold weather. (If you do need a jump start while on campus, call Campus Safety for help).
- Keep at least one ice scraper / snow brush handy in your car.
- Always clear all snow from your entire car before driving. This includes all windows, mirrors, the hood, roof, and trunk, and all lights.
- Drive safely, and at a safe speed for conditions. This means not too fast, and also not too slow, which could cause other drivers to run into you. Drive only on streets where you are reasonably comfortable driving (e.g. surface streets may be preferable to highways on certain days).
- Leave your house early! If you have plenty of time to reach your destination. you will be able to select alternate routes, drive at a safe speed, and possibly avoid rush-hour traffic.
- Keep your cell phone charged and with you at all times. If an accident or other incident delays your arrival on campus, notify your professor or supervisor when it is safe for you to do so. Only use your phone hands-free if you are driving. Otherwise, pull off to a safe place before making or receiving any calls.
Winter warmth and personal safety:
- Keep a pair of ice grips or traction cleats (such as Yaktrax) in your car in case you find yourself stopped in an icy place.
- Keep winter boots in your car.
- Keep a warm winter coat in your car.
- Keep warm gloves, a warm hat, and scarf in your car.
- Keep a warm blanket in your car.
- If you struggle with asthma or other respiratory difficulties exacerbated by cold, dry weather, consult your health care provider to make sure you have the tools and techniques you need to stay safe.
Year-round driving and personal safety
- Do not get into a vehicle with a stranger. Do not invite a stranger into your vehicle. If you are selling your vehicle and you need to allow a stranger to test drive it, bring a friend along for the test drive. Same thing if you’re buying a private vehicle: always bring a friend with you!
- Always lock your car, even if you are sitting in your car in a parking lot.
- Before exiting or entering your car, look around to make sure it is safe to exit/enter your vehicle.
- When turning into or out of parking lots, STOP and look before you enter the roadway or parking lot. Drive slowly through parking lots. Stick to the speed limit. Careful driving prevents accidents.
- Do not keep personally-identifiable documents that include your address or private numbers in your car.
- Set the “home” location in your car’s GPS to an establishment near your home (such as a store or restaurant), but NOT your actual home address. You will always be able to find your way home, but if your car is stolen, the thief will not have your home address.
When your car is parked
- Make sure your windows are up and all doors are locked when you are not in your vehicle.
- Do not leave valuables in sight.
- At night, park in lighted areas where there are other cars nearby.
- Never leave your car running when it is unoccupied.
- Never leave your keys inside your vehicle.
- If you do lock your keys in your vehicle, contact Campus Safety for assistance.
- If you have a dead battery, Campus Safety will provide a jump start.
- If you would like someone to walk you to or from your car at night, contact Campus Safety for a SafeWalk escort.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times. We recommend that you not look at your phone screen or wear headphones when walking to or from your car at night.
Pedestrian safety while on campus
- Put the number for Campus Safety in your phone: 313-845-9630.
You may also call 9911 from on-campus phones.
Dial 911 in an emergency, but remember 911 calls will go to Dearborn Police, not HFC Campus Safety. If you call Campus Safety, they will know what to do and will also call 911 for you if needed.
- If you are outdoors on campus, take note of the nearest blue light phone, in case you need to call for assistance.
- Remember that SafeWalk is available on campus during evenings and weekends.
- Do not leave your personal belongings unattended, even for a moment.
- Be especially careful in and around parking lots, as drivers searching for parking spots might have difficulty seeing you if you walk between cars or across driving lanes.
- Look around you, and stay alert. Maintain awareness of your surroundings and the activities near you at all times. We recommend that you not use earbuds or earphones or look continuously at your cell phone as you walk across campus.
- Campus Safety is here to help. Call 313-845-9630 if you need assistance.
Staying safe while using the internet and digital services
- Minimize the amount of personal information that you share on social media, commerce websites, and any dating profiles. Specific information about your home, birthday, partner, children, pets, hours, vacation times, and any valuable numbers such as your Social Security, credit cards, or driver’s license, should be kept private. Remember that everything you share can be shared by someone else -- often without your permission.
- Do not share personal or compromising information or photos.
- Do not assume that everyone is who they say they are.
- Check your online and social media privacy settings to make sure you are only sharing information with people you choose.
- If you are being harassed or stalked online, report the incident to the social media channel or website, and, if appropriate, to law enforcement.
- See Something, Say Something.
- Stay alert. Look out for yourself and others.
- Review and understand Campus Emergency procedures.
- Report any incidents or suspicious activity to Campus Safety.
- Take the precautions that will keep our entire community safe and healthy.