Knowledge is the best weapon you can possess to avoid becoming a victim of a crime. Criminals are opportunists who take advantage of any occasion to enrich themselves. If no opportunity is offered, the criminal will seek greener pastures elsewhere. Please learn how to avoid becoming a victim. Here are some tips for protecting yourself and your property.
In the Residence Halls
• Do not leave valuables openly lying around in your room.
• Mark all your valuables so that they may be identified if they are stolen and recovered.
• Keep locked access doors and windows closed. Propping open a locked door or window invites unwanted visitors.
• Know the emergency evacuation routes.
• Know the emergency telephone numbers. Numbers are posted at various campus sites.
Do not give your phone number out indiscriminately. This invites unwanted phone calls. Report any obscene calls to a Campus Police Officer or the Student Services Office.
• Keep a good grip on your purse. Avoid purse snatchers by taking away the opportunity.
• Carry only what you need with you. Do not carry large amounts of cash, large numbers of credit cards or valuables.
• Keep your distance from anyone who triggers a suspicion in your mind. Avoid invitations for a “ride” from someone you do not know.
• Walk with friends at night; do not walk alone.
• Stay alert to your surroundings when walking at night. Walk briskly to your destination.
• Immediately report any suspicious activity to the Erskine College Police Department or to the Due West Police Department.
If You Are Approached
• If attacked you must decide if it is better to be passive or to resist. If you resist, scream loudly and continue to scream until help arrives or the attacker runs. Struggle, hit, scratch, kick or throw things. Do not allow the attacker to take you to a less public place where you will have less chance of attracting attention.
• If you are held up by a person with a weapon, it is a situation different from a personal attack. Do not resist; hand over your valuables.
• Report any assault or attempted assault immediately to the nearest Campus Police Officer, college official or the Due West Police Department. Remember the individual’s appearance, size, build, clothing, etc.
Protecting Your Car
• Do not give a ride to anyone you do not know.
• Park in assigned areas on campus. These areas are heavily patrolled day and night.
• Roll your windows all the way up and lock your doors when you leave your car.
• Do not leave any item of value where it can be seen through the car windows.
• When parking on campus, check your car every day. Immediately report any vandalism or theft.
Sex Offender Registry and Access to Related Information
Incarceration may remove a sex offender from the streets but it does nothing to prevent the offender from committing another crime when released. The federal Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act requires institutions of higher education to issue a statement advising the campus community where law enforcement agency information provided by a state concerning registered sex offenders may be obtained. It also requires sex offenders already required to register in the state to provide notice, as required under state law, to each institution of higher education in that state at which the person is employed, carries on a vocation, or is a student. In South Carolina convicted sex offenders must register with the County Sheriff’s Office where they reside.
In addition, all persons convicted of violations under the laws of the United States or any other state substantially similar to an offense for which registration is required shall provide to the local agency all necessary information for inclusion in the State Offender Registry within ten days of establishing a residence within South Carolina. Any person required to register shall also be required to re-register within ten days following any change of residence.
Nonresident offenders entering the State for employment, to carry on a vocation, or as a student attending school who are required to register in their state of residence or who would be required to register under this section if a resident of South Carolina shall, within ten days of accepting employment or enrolling in school in South Carolina, be required to register and re-register pursuant to this section. For purposes of this section “student” means a person who is enrolled on a full-time or part-time basis, in any public or private educational institution, including any secondary school, trade or professional institution, or institution of higher education.
The State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) maintains a website, http://www.sled.state.sc.us/, which allows a search of the Sex Offender Registry for Offenders by Name, City, County, or Zip Code. Other web addresses are http:www.scattorneygeneral.org/index.asp or
Registry information provided under law shall be used for the purposes of the administration of criminal justice, for the screening of current or prospective employees or volunteers or otherwise for the protection of the public in general and children in particular. Use of the information for purposes not authorized by law is prohibited and a willful violation with the intent to harass or intimidate another can result in prosecution.