Safety And Security Tips
A college or university campus is an important part of the local community that it serves. As in any neighborhood, it is important that the students, faculty, and staff realize that they should take every possible precaution to prevent assault and crime against themselves or others.
The administration of Florida Tech recognizes that the university's campuses are part of the community and experience the risks and threats of society as a whole. Our university has established programs and systems involving personnel, procedural methods, and physical means to provide as safe and secure an environment on campus as possible.
The Florida Tech Student Services, Residence Life, and the Department of Security provide information and assistance on self-protection to students and residents. However, each person must also act to protect himself or herself.
Lack of vulnerability is the key. A criminal, and especially an assaulter, looks for and exploits perceived weaknesses. The less vulnerable the person, residence, or vehicle appears, the less chance of assault, loss, theft, or robbery. The information provided is designed to inform, advise, and alert campus occupants about Florida Tech policies and procedures on crime awareness and reporting. This also includes crime methodology and crime prevention techniques that are provided to assist in self-protection.
General Department of Security Policies
There are two important elements in creating and maintaining protective programs and systems. First is an understanding of campus crime and safety hazards by students and employees. Next are methods of communication and action to reduce or eliminate security and safety threats and hazards.
Therefore, it is the policy of Florida Tech that all students and employees are to report criminal acts and safety hazards, or occurrences known to them. The proper reporting procedure for everyone in the event of any concern is to contact the Department of Security (321-674-8111). This number is available 24 hours a day. In the event of an immediate threat, danger, injury, or criminal occurrence, students are advised to call the local EMERGENCY SERVICE, by dialing 911, and then call the Department of Security.
In all instances of criminal occurrence, loss of property, assault, threat, injury, or attempted crime, the Department of Security must be contacted as soon as possible to facilitate proper reporting and resource utilization and to record the occurrence for further study and preventive action.
Campus Personal Safety and Security
The Florida Tech Department of Security provides security information, assistance, and service to aid campus occupants in the protection process.
No person or location is 100% safe. The Department of Security uses patrolling officers to observe and detect crimes and threats on the main campus. The Department of Security’s function is primarily informational and advisory, rather than regulatory. Security personnel are not police officers and are not empowered as such. The primary protective means used are restricting campus access and use to only those authorized students, staff, employees, or their guests for reasonable and safe purposes. The inspection and maintenance of locks, doors, windows, lights, and alarms are coordinated by both the Department of Security and the Facilities Operations Department. All dorms on campus are locked with deadbolts 24 hours a day, and only students residing in these rooms have keys.
The actions taken by a person to increase security in their residence, vehicle, or personal activity can prevent a crime by causing the perpetrator to think twice and be deterred. Simple actions include:
- Locking doors at all times (residence and vehicle)
- Not "propping" doors open
- Exercising, traveling, or jogging with a friend
- Being aware of unusual or suspicious persons or conditions
- Staying in well-lit areas on the campus
- Calling Security to report crime or suspicious activity (ext. 8111)
- Calling the local police (911) if danger is suspected or if you are threatened.
When you are home alone, pull shades or curtains after dark. If you let someone in, and then have second thoughts, be assertive and demand that the person leaves, or leave yourself. Call a friend or neighbor to come over. Pretend you are not alone, mention a friend or family member asleep in the next room. Anyone who refuses to leave is a trespasser and you should call the local police (911) to have them removed. In general, if you don't personally know a person, don't let them in.
Make sure hallways, entrances, garages, and grounds are well-lighted. Leave porch lights on all night. When away from home for the night, or when you expect to return after dark, leave an interior light on in a room or two with shades drawn. Leave a television and/or radio on to give the impression that someone is at home. Install a peephole in your door.
When someone is at your door, never open it until you know who is there. Repair and sales people, police, and survey takers carry identification. Ask to see it and call the company to verify the person's identity if you have any questions before you permit entry. On campus, call the Department of Security. There is "NO SOLICITING" allowed on campus.
Leave spare house keys with a friend, not under the doormat or in a planter. Get to know your neighbors so you can get help if necessary. Be familiar with who is coming and going in the neighborhood.
List initials and last name only on mailbox or door.
Avoid giving out information about yourself or making appointments with strangers over the phone.
To deter theft and "fencing" of stolen goods, engrave or mark all valuable personal property with your name and phone number.
Florida Tech, in collaboration with the City of Melbourne, maintain crosswalks throughout campus to allow for the safe passage across busy campus roads and city streets. Pedestrians, drivers, and bicyclists must all pay close attention to their safety at crosswalks and intersections:
- Always cross the street at marked crosswalks.
- Obey any pedestrian signals and look left-right-left to make sure the road is clear in both directions before crossing.
- If a vehicle approaches, make eye contact with the driver.
- Look before walking past stopped vehicles to be sure they see you before you cross.
- Do not cross just because a single driver waves you on. Be sure all lanes are clear first.
- Avoid texting, talking on the phone, and using headphones while crossing the street.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and at intersections.
- Be alert for bicyclists, skateboarders, and motorized vehicles (e.g. golf carts) who approach the crosswalk, they can be much quicker than pedestrians.
- Come to a complete stop if pedestrians are crossing or preparing to cross. STOP SIGNS MEAN STOP on and off campus.
- Never pass another vehicle that has stopped or is slowing down at a crosswalk or a parking lot.
BICYCLE—NON-MOTORIZED SCOOTER—SKATEBOARD OPERATORS
(Recreational Transportation Equipment)
- Ride only according to the equipment manufacturer's specifications.
- Adhere and comply with all traffic control devices, including posted signs that may prohibit riding in any designated area.
- Always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.
- Dismount and carry the recreational transportation equipment across crosswalks, busy intersections and high traffic areas.
Motorized and Self-Balancing Skateboards, as well as Scooters, are NOT permitted on campus.
Download the Pedestrian Safety Flyer
Skateboard injuries are on the rise. For those who live around the city, we've all seen skateboarders zip around us, seemingly coming out of nowhere, and vanishing just the same. Some ride their skateboards with the utmost of caution, others with reckless abandon. No matter which style the individual adheres to, injuries are always a likely possibility.
An estimated 64,500 skateboard injuries are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year. These figures do not include motorized skateboards or inline skates, which present their own types of issues and statistics.
The National Safety Council recommends the use of protective gear, such as closed, slip-resistant shoes, helmets, and specially designed padding for elbows, knees and hands. This protective gear may not fully prevent injury, but will lessen the severity of the skateboarder's injuries.
The National Safety Council offers the following skateboarding tips:
- Don’t wear headphones or use your phone while skateboarding.
- Give your board a safety check each time before you ride.
- Always wear safety gear.
- Never ride in the street.
- Obey the local laws on where you can and cannot skate.
- Don’t skate in crowds of non-skaters.
- Only one person per skateboard.
- Never hitch a ride from a car, bicycle, etc.
- Don’t take chances, complicated tricks require practice and a specially-designated area.
- Learn to fall; practice falling on a soft surface or grass.
Not all skateboard injuries may be preventable, but most can be minimized by wearing protective gear and instilling in the individual safe riding habits.
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the nation, and students may be particularly vulnerable to this crime. Once someone steals your identity, it is difficult to clear your credit record and often your criminal history. Learn how to protect yourself and your future from identity theft by visiting this federal government website: http://www.ed.gov/misused.
The Florida Tech Department of Security operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the protection of students, staff, faculty, and visitors. Officers patrol the campus by marked vehicle, golf cart, bicycle and by foot patrol.
Any criminal or suspicious activity that occurs on campus should be reported immediately to the Department of Security (ext. 8111). This number should be called whenever necessary for the safety and security of you, your property, or the campus.
The following preventive measures will help minimize your chances of being victimized:
- If you are going out, tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
- Always lock your doors and don't lend the key out. Keys can be duplicated.
- Don't walk alone at night. Take a friend with you.
- Stay in well-lighted areas.
- If you lose a key or an I.D. card and believe that someone has a key to your room, report this immediately to the Department of Security at ext. 8111. The Department of Security can assist with changing the locks and/or obtaining a new key card or key to your room. For a new access card/key please go to https://www.fit.edu/security/access-control/.
- Photocopy all important papers that you carry in your purse or wallet, including your driver's license. Keep these photocopies in a safe place. This information will be invaluable if you lose your license or cards.
- Don't offer a ride to any individual you don't know, even if the person claims to be a student.
- Report any malfunctioning corridor, hallway, or exterior lights to the Facilities Operations Department, ext. 8038, or by placing a Service Request https://www.fit.edu/facilities/.
- Trust your intuition. If you feel uncomfortable with someone on the elevator, you do not have to use the elevator. Go to a neighbor or call The Department of Security, 321-674-8111.
- If you are in an elevator and someone suspicious enters, stand near the controls. If necessary, you can press all the buttons or use the emergency alarm/phone. If it is a dormitory elevator, know where the resident advisor (RA) rooms are and go to them if you feel threatened.
On the Street
- Be alert. Look around you. Be aware of others on the street. Make it difficult for anyone to take you by surprise. Individuals should carry a whistle on a key chain. Walk with keys in hand.
- Walk or bike with others if you have a choice. Try not to go alone.
- Stay on populated, well-lighted streets when you can.
- If possible, avoid dark or concealed areas. Walk in the middle of the street if it appears safer.
- If you think someone is following you, turn around and check so that you are not caught off guard. Cross the street or change direction.
- Walk or run toward people, traffic, or lights. Consider confronting the aggressor and saying, in a loud, firm voice, "Don't follow me!" Try to find an occupied building and perhaps throw something through the window, if necessary.
- If a car follows you or stops near you for directions, do not approach the car. Change direction if you feel threatened and walk or run toward stores, a lighted house, or other people.
In Your Car
- Park in well-lighted areas at night. Check the street before leaving the car. Park in full view of the front of stores and houses.
- Walk to your car with keys ready.
- If you have a flat tire, seek help by phone or at a nearby business. Beware of someone instantly appearing to offer help. ATTACKERS OFTEN DISABLE CARS TO MAKE THEIR OWNERS VULNERABLE.
- Check the back seat before entering: someone could be hiding there.
- Keep the car doors locked at ALL TIMES, even when driving in daylight, so no one can jump in at a red light.
- Keep enough gas in your tank for emergencies.
- If you are followed by another car, drive to a police station or business that has lights on and people in it. You may not want to go directly home with someone following you. "Driveway Robberies" are becoming more common.
- If your car breaks down, lift the hood, put on the flashers, and wait inside with the doors locked for help. Ask people who stop to call the police or AAA for you. Don't go with anyone.
- Don't stop for stranded motorists. You are of greater help to them by calling the police or sheriff.
- Safety first – Safety equipment begins with the helmet. Wearing an approved helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by up to 85% in the event of an accident. In addition, wear brightly colored or reflective clothing so you can be seen during the early morning and evening hours. Avoid riding your bike at night. You should also carry a small first-aid kit in case of an emergency.
- Keep your bike in good shape – Make sure all parts are in good repair, check your brakes, tires and gears often. Have a bike expert teach you the basics so that you can continue routine maintenance. Your bicycle should be equipped with reflectors and lights.
- Follow traffic laws – Bicycles are considered vehicles and cyclists should obey the same traffic laws as motorists. Travel on the right side of the road with traffic, and do not ride on the sidewalk. Obey all stop signs, traffic lights and lane markings. Use proper hand signals before making any lane changes or turns.
- Check out other routes – Sometimes the main road may not be the safest way to travel by bike. Look into alternate routes with less motor vehicle traffic or better road conditions. Some cities have even implemented lanes for cyclists.
- Finding the correct fit – The most important factor in bicycling is finding a bike that fits you properly. You should be able to stand just over the top bar of the bike with your feet flat on the ground. A professional at a bike shop can assist in properly fitting you with an appropriate bike.
For more information on bicycle safety, visit the League of American Bicyclists and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- Try to jog with a partner. Try to avoid running alone, even during the day. You could become injured from a fall and might need help.
- Be aware of people around you.
- Stay on well-lighted paths in open areas. Vary your route. Be suspicious of people you pass many times.
- Stay away from parked cars, especially those occupied by suspicious persons.
Alcohol And Other Drug Programs
The university works with Residence Life and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to provide programs and information designed to educate students regarding the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs. It is through the efforts of these offices working in conjunction with the entire campus community that the university provides a comprehensive approach to alcohol and other drug education.
Residence Life feels that its major role is to support and enhance the development of students while they are at Florida Tech and that this development is personal as well as academic in nature. The Residence Life staff strives to build strong communities where students can live and learn by providing educational meetings and programs on high-risk activities like alcohol and drugs. For example, during the fall semester, RA staff hold floor and hall meetings that discuss the Student Code of Conduct and focus on responsible behavior as a member of the campus community. In addition, throughout the year, discussions, meetings, and programs are held which range from wellness fairs to bulletin boards and experiential activities. Students have a myriad of opportunities to attend educational programs, alternative social programs, and to utilize their staff for both information and referrals.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides educational seminars open to the campus community on these issues during both the fall and spring semesters. Our presentations are made available to both staff and students as needed (or upon request) to help instill responsible decision making and limit setting behaviors related to alcohol and other drug related subjects.
Alcohol And Drug Use Policies
Florida Tech has established rules and regulations on the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol on campus and at university-sponsored events.
The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of drugs and the abuse of alcohol are prohibited in and on university-owned or controlled property and as a part of any activities.
No Florida Tech employee or student is to report to work or school while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The enforcement of federal, state, and local laws pertaining to underage drinking laws, possession, use, and sale of drugs, and any other criminal occurrences are referred to the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction.
In Addition To Criminal Penalties, Students Convicted Of Violating Any Federal Or State Drug Possession Or Sale Law Will Become Ineligible For Title IV** Federal Financial Aid Under The Following Circumstances:
For a student convicted of drug possession, federal aid eligibility is suspended for one year for the first offense, two years for the second offense, and indefinitely for the third offense. For a student convicted of a drug sale, federal aid eligibility is suspended for two years for the first offense and indefinitely for the second offense.
A Person's Title IV** Federal Financial Aid Eligibility May Be Resumed Before The End Of The Ineligibility Period, If The Student Satisfactorily Completes A Drug Rehabilitation Program That Complies With Criteria Established By The Department Of Education And Such Program Includes Two Unannounced Drug Tests, Or The Conviction Is Reversed, Set Aside Or Otherwise Rendered Nugatory (I.E. Invalid Or Without Force) **Title IV Federal Financial Aid Includes The Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG Grant, Federal Direct Loans, Federal Perkins Loan, And Federal Work-Study Programs.
Florida Tech has adopted a drug-free schools and campuses policy. This policy complies with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (Pub. L. No. 101-226, title 34 C.F.R., part 86) and includes a description of drug and alcohol abuse education and resource programs and agency locations.
For more information on our Campus Alcohol and Drug Use Policy refer to the Student Handbook.
Cellular phones, and other electronic devices shall not be used in a manner that causes disruption in the classroom, library or within any college-owned or college-operated facilities. This includes abuse of cellular devices with photographic capability. Utilizing these devices for the purposes of photographing test questions or other forms of academic misconduct or illegal activity is prohibited, as is photographing individuals in secured areas such as lavatories or locker rooms. Taking photographs of any individuals against their will is strictly prohibited.
Mail Handling Procedures For Suspicious Packages
While the risk of encountering such a package is small, everyone should be aware of the indicators of and responses to a suspicious package. If unsure about the nature of a suspicious package it is better to report it. The first responders will perform a threat assessment of the situation and make decisions about further actions.
In MAILROOM facilities that accept mail directly from the United States Postal Service (USPS)
Know the characteristics of suspicious packages, which may include:
- Inappropriate or unusual labeling
- Appearance and other suspicious signs
- Powdery substance felt through or appearing on the package or envelope
- Oily stains or discolorations
- Unusual odor
- Lopsided, empty or uneven envelope
- Misspelled or incomplete addresses
- No return address
- Excessive postage
- Excessive packaging such as tape, string, etc.
- Excessive weight
- Ticking sound
- Protruding wires or aluminum foil
Procedures For Suspicious Packages Or Envelopes:
Put Package Or Envelope Down On A Stable Surface Immediately; Do Not Move Or Touch It.
- Clear the immediate area of all persons and keep others away.
- Cordon off the immediate area.
- Contact first responders; Department of Security: 321-674-8111
- MELBOURNE POLICE: 321-608-6731 or 911.
- Contact your supervisor.
- Instruct people to wash hands and other exposed skin with soap and water, if a wash station is in the immediate area.
- Isolate exposed persons to a designated area away from the substance and await further instruction.
- List the names of the persons in the immediate area of the mail or package.
- Remain available in a safe area to provide information to first responders.
Locations that receive mail from the University Mail Room (schools, departments, offices & laboratories)
Having passed through a university mail room, these items will have had some level of initial screening. Occupants in these areas must remain vigilant for the suspicious package indicators noted above and for unexpected mail or mail with an absent or unfamiliar return address. Anyone who becomes suspicious of such a package should follow the “procedures for suspicious packages or envelopes”, described above.
Recipients of packages directly from United Parcel Service (UPS), FedEx, etc. should also be aware of suspicious package indicators, particularly if the return address is absent or unfamiliar or the package is unexpected.
Optional personal protective equipment for routine mail handling:
- Nitrile or vinyl (not latex) gloves, if worn, should be used only when sorting the mail.
- Remove gloves prior to performing other tasks.
- Wash hands with warm water and soap after handling mail.
- Do not eat or drink while handling mail.