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Background Image Alternative Text: Car in snow
Background Image Alternative Text: Car in snow

Safety Tips

Personal Safety Tips

  • Develop a plan of action.
  • Avoid walking alone, especially at night. Call the MSU Police Department for an escort, if necessary (662) 325-2121.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid unpopulated and poorly or unlit areas after dark. 
  • Be aware of your companions. Ensure that they are people you trust.
  • Walk and act with confidence. LOOK alert! BE alert!
  • If you feel you are being followed, change direction. Walk towards a populated area.
  • If you are confronted, don’t panic. YELL! Yelling draws more attention than screaming and it is more likely someone will step in to help. Use your adrenaline to your advantage.
  • Know how to defend yourself. Take a reputable self-defense class, such as the Rape Aggression Defense program. MSU PD teaches PE 1281 - Self Defense for students to take for college credit. Call (662) 325-9149 for more information.
  • If assaulted, call the police as soon as possible: (662) 325-2121.


  • Alcoholic beverages can affect your vision, motor functions, and most importantly, your decision-making ability. If you are under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs, your chances of victimization are increased.
  • When selecting a potential victim, there are three things for which most criminals look:
    • A person who appears to be weak or vulnerable.
    • A person who is not attentive to their surroundings.
    • The opportunity to commit the crime.
  • Don’t allow yourself to believe that it can’t happen to you. Your plan of action should include the proper attitude. By thinking of what you can do when something happens instead of if something happens, you are working to mentally prepare yourself to deal with most eventualities.

Vehicle Safety

  • Always park in lighted areas.
  • Always lock your vehicle.
  • Don’t travel alone, when possible.
  • Carry small loads at a time, keeping your arms free for movement.
  • Carry your keys at the ready.
  • Look around and under your vehicle during your approach.
  • Check the front and back seats before you enter the vehicle.
  • As soon as you are safely inside, lock the door.
  • Never pick up a hitchhiker.
  • Keep your vehicle in good repair and have it serviced regularly.
  • Never let your fuel get below one quarter of a tank.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.

Vehicle Theft/Burglary Prevention

  • Record the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), registration, and license plate numbers. Keep this record stored in a safe place, other than the vehicle. If possible, take a photograph of your vehicle.
  • Carry insurance against theft or burglary.
  • Never leave your keys in an unattended vehicle.
  • LOCK IT! When you are in it and when you leave it.
  • Keep valuables, including your textbooks, out of sight. Lock them in the trunk when possible.
  • Carry a spare key. Do not use magnetic key boxes.
  • Avoid displaying bumper stickers that may antagonize individuals or groups.
  • Avoid antagonizing other motorists.
  • Travel on main streets and highways as much as possible.
  • If you are driving make four right turns to ensure you are being followed, then drive to the nearest police department. Or if you are sure you are being followed, drive straight to a police department and call ahead to alert them of your arrival. 
  • If you see a disabled vehicle, don’t stop. Call the police on your cell phone or drive to a pay phone or police station.
  • If your vehicle becomes disabled, stay inside with the doors locked. If a stranger stops to assist, do not roll down your window or open the door. Call the police to wait with you until a tow truck or roadside assistance is able to come and help you. 

Items To Carry In Your Vehicle

  • Trunk:
    • 4-way lug wrench with leverage pipe.
    • Tire iron or screwdriver to remove hubcap.
    • A good jack, preferably hydraulic.
    • Aerosol canister for inflating tires.
    • A change of clothing including rain gear, gloves, warm jacket, boots, and a blanket.
    • One-gallon milk jug container of water.
    • Road flares or reflective triangles and flashlight (regularly check the batteries).
    • Jumper cables.
    • A small tool kit.
    • First aid kit.
  • Passenger Compartment:
    • Phone charger for if your phone dies.
    • Flashlight other than your phone.

Credit Card and Identity Theft Safety

There are a number of ATM machines on campus and throughout the city of Starkville. Their availability at all hours may sometimes put individuals at increased risk for victimization depending upon the time and location. We urge you to follow these safety recommendations:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and take notice of anyone who does not appear to be there for banking purposes.
  • When you enter your password, position yourself so others may not see the keypad.
  • Trust your instincts. If someone is nearby who makes you feel uncomfortable, go to another ATM.
  • After completing your cash withdrawal, use discretion when counting the money. The less visibility, the better.
  • When using an ATM at night in a low traffic area, try and bring a companion along.

For your account protection:

  • Select a password that only you know and cannot be determined from items in a wallet or purse. Avoid using your name as the password.
  • Do not give your password out to anyone under ANY circumstances. If someone calls from the bank and asks for your PIN number for verification, do not give it out. Most banks do not engage in this practice. If you have caller ID, record the telephone number of the caller and notify the police.
  • Do not write your PIN number down.
  • Do not lend your card to anyone, including your roommate.
  • Report lost or stolen ATM cards immediately to the bank and/or police.

Today’s thieves do not hesitate to use other's credit cards for their own profit. Here are a few prevention tips to help prevent illegal use:

  • Make sure you have a photo of the front and back of your credit cards and keep them in a place nobody else has access to. If your credit cards are stolen, you will have a copy of them for reference when canceling the cards and making the police report.
  • Monitor your credit card statement closely for signs of unauthorized activity. Immediately report any unauthorized activity to the company and the police.
  • Do not carry more than one or two credit cards and NEVER leave credit cards or personal checks unattended.
  • When writing a check, do not use your credit cards for identification.
  • If possible, carry your credit cards separate from your wallet
  • If you purchase something by credit card, ensure that you get the receipt copy. This will prevent someone else from obtaining your credit card number.
  • When you are through with your credit card statement, shred it before placing it in a trashcan. This will prevent someone from rummaging through your trash and obtaining your credit card number.
  • Tear up or shred pre-approved credit card applications. This will prevent someone from obtaining a credit card in your name.
  • If you receive a letter from a credit card company stating that you have received one of their credit cards and you have not, notify them immediately.
  • Beware of vendors selling merchandise or products over the phone. Do not give out your credit card number to any telephone solicitors.
  • Always check catalogs to be sure your credit card number is not printed on the cover or mail order form. If it is, contact the company and ask them to immediately remove it.
  • Remove your address and mail order envelope from catalogs before throwing them away or recycling them.

Student Living Safety Tips

  • Know your Residence Hall visitation policy.
  • Be aware of those that enter and exit your room. That includes possible friends of a friend and roommate's friends.
  • Make sure the door to your room is locked and secured if your room is not occupied
  • It would be a good idea to have a secondary secure location for those valuable items you feel uncomfortable leaving them in plain view in the room.
  • Be mindful and know your Residence Hall living policy and procedures.

Campus Bicycle Rules, Use, and Safety

  • Register your bicycle with MSU's Parking Services. This helps to contact the owner if the bicycle is stolen, lost, or confiscated.
  • Cyclists shouldn't use sidewalks or walkways when pedestrians are present.
  • Bicycles using campus roadways operate with the same rules as automobiles.
  • Individuals can be cited for bicycle violations.
  • Electronic scooters should be operated the same a bicycles and are also able to be cited for violations.
  • Visit for campus bicycle, scooter, pedestrian, and vehicle safety tips.

Notice of Recording

For your safety, Mississippi State University deploys cameras and video recordings of public spaces and buildings.