Personal Safety - Steps to Take

Middlebury College and the town of Middlebury, Vermont are relatively safe communities, but no community is crime free. To ensure your own security and that of your friends and colleagues, take care and use common sense. By following suggestions outlined in this booklet, you can substantially reduce the possibility of becoming a victim. Your involvement is essential to the prevention of crime on campus. Disinterest and complacency are the prime contributors to the success of crime. That is why the burden of crime prevention is shared by the Department of Public Safety and the Middlebury College community

Members of the community are called upon by the DPS to recognize and report incidents of suspicious criminal activity. Your assistance will greatly aid the DPS in effectively fighting crime. Please do your part in the following ways:

  • Be Aware of your vulnerability; follow the measures of self protection and property protection outlined in this booklet.
  • Be Alert for suspicious or criminal activity and conditions that may represent a hazard to the community.
  • Get Involved by becoming more security conscious and by reporting all incidents of suspicious or criminal activity, no matter how insignificant they may appear, to the Department of Public Safety immediately.
  • Remember that unreported crimes cannot be solved. By not reporting crimes you may be allowing the perpetrators to commit additional and possibly more serious crimes.

Walking or Running

  • Avoid traveling alone at night. Travel in pairs. Call Midd Rides (x7433) if you need a safety escort at night.
  • Avoid dark, vacant or deserted areas; use well-lit, regularly traveled walks or pathways. Avoid short cuts and keep away from shrubbery, bushes, alleyways, or any other areas where an assailant might be lurking.
  • Runners, walkers or joggers should do so facing traffic. Avoid these activities after dark, but if you do so, use extra precautions like staying in pairs, travel well-lit areas and wear reflective clothing or tape.
  • Dress in clothes and shoes that do not hamper movement.
  • Dress sensibly, don't flaunt expensive jewelry. Don't carry large amounts of cash.
  • Always let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
  • Carry a noise-making device with you at all times, and use it if you suspect you are in danger.
  • Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Walk purposefully, confidently and keep moving.
  • Do not hitchhike or accept rides from casual acquaintances.
  • When walking to your residence or vehicle, have your keys ready in hand.
  • When being dropped off at your residence by taxi or private vehicle, ask the driver to wait until you get inside.
  • If threatened by an approaching vehicle, run the opposite direction. The vehicle will have to turn around before being able to follow.
  • If you think you are being followed or feel threatened, increase your pace and move away from the threat, join any group of people nearby or cross the street, and if necessary, keep crossing back and forth. If you are pursued, run to a lighted area, business, or residence; call for help, scream, or raise a commotion any way you can to get someone's attention; enlist the aid of a passerby; locate a phone and dial 911 or pull a fire alarm. Do anything that might attract attention or summon assistance. If you are walking alone and someone passes you, check to make sure that person has continued walking in the other direction.
  • If you find yourself confronted by an assailant, you must remember that while screaming and struggling may in some instances frighten off the assailant, in other instances such actions may further antagonize the assailant and bring forth a more violent reaction. Above all you must keep your head and assess the situation before choosing your course of action. Whether or not the assailant is armed or has made threats against your life will, obviously, be a determining factor in your decision. The key word in this type of situation is survival.

Residence Halls and Private Residences


  • Keep the doors and windows to your residence locked at all times.
  • Never sleep in an unlocked room or house.
  • Report defective locks on windows and doors immediately to Facilities Services (x5472).
  • Do not put your name and address on key rings. Do not attach your keys to your Midd Card.
  • Do not keep your residence and your vehicle keys on the same ring.
  • If you lose the keys to your residence, have the locks changed. On campus residents should notify the Department of Public Safety immediately. Requests to have an on campus lock changed can be made by contacting Facilities Services (x5472). There is a charge for this service.
  • Do not study in poorly lit, secluded areas.
  • Require visitors to identify themselves before you open your door. Request official identification from all repair or service personnel.
  • Get to know your neighbors so you can help each other.
  • If you find that your room has been entered, DO NOT GO INSIDE. Go to a neighbor and call the Department of Public Safety (for College housing) or the town police (for private residences). If you are already inside, DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING. You may disturb evidence that is important to police investigation.
  • If you are awakened by an intruder in your room, do not try to apprehend them. They may be armed or may easily arm themselves with something inside the room. Attempt to get out of the room if it is possible.
  • If you see a suspicious person or vehicle on campus or in your neighborhood, IMMEDIATELY contact the Department of Public Safety or the town police. Try to get the license plate number, state and description of the vehicle, but do not chase the car to do so.
  • Do not prop open doors to dormitories or other College buildings.
  • Be cautious when using bathroom facilities when there is no one else around, particularly at night.
  • Solicitation in residence halls for any purpose by persons outside the College community is prohibited. Outside solicitors found in the dorms should be reported to the Department of Public Safety immediately.
  • Peeping Toms are best dealt with by not yelling or attempting to detain the offender. He or she may panic and react in an unpredictable manner. If the offender runs away, note the direction of travel. If there is a place from which you can observe safely, watch to see if they get into a car, go to another dorm, etc. Try to get a good description of the person and report the incident by calling x5911 immediately.
  • Obscene, harassing and annoying phone calls should be dealt with by immediately hanging up as soon as you realize the nature of the call. Do not try to find out who the caller is even if you think it is a friend playing a joke. Contact the Department of Public Safety to report phone harassment. Some ways to deal with phone harassment include using your voice mail system or answering machine to screen calls. You may also record an obscene call by using the memo feature on some answering machines. If the calls occur frequently, keep a log of exactly when the call was received and what was said. Describe the type of voice and note any background noises. Consider changing your phone number, depersonalizing your answering machine or voice mail message or not being listed in the campus directory. Contact Telephone Services (x5700) for assistance in these areas.

Use of Athletic Facilities

  • Avoid using the athletic facilities alone, especially after dark or during off-hours.
  • Use the "buddy system". Work out with a friend, and make arrangements to go to and from the gym together.
  • Confine your running and jogging to the daylight hours and to open, well-traveled areas.
  • Avoid showering alone in the locker room. Shower back at your residence.
  • Avoid bringing cash, wallets, watches or other valuables to the athletic facilities.
  • Keep your locker locked whenever unattended. This includes those times when you leave briefly to shower, visit the trainer or the equipment room, etc. Most of the thefts at the athletic facilities are from unlocked lockers or property left unsecured in the locker room area.
  • Do not leave items of significant value in the coat rack area adjacent to the fitness center while your work out.

In the women's locker room


  • If there is another woman in the locker room, ask her to wait for you, so you will not be showering alone. If you are with a male companion, ask him to wait for you just outside the locker room.
  • Report all incidents of voyeurism to the Department of Public Safety immediately.
  • If you encounter a male intruder inside the women's locker room
  • Call loudly for help. Your call for assistance should carry into the hallway.
  • Keep out of the intruder's way, and do not attempt to prevent him from leaving.
  • Try to exit the locker room quickly.
  • Formulate a description of the intruder in your mind.
  • Notify the Department of Public Safety immediately by using an emergency phone to dial 911 or x5911.