Crime Prevention

Gettysburg College is concerned about the safety and welfare of its students, faculty and staff, and visitors, and is committed to providing a safe and secure environment. Because no campus is isolated from crime, we are providing the following information designed to help protect persons on the campus.

Residence Halls

  • Don’t open your door to strangers! Use the peephole; if your room is equipped with one. If your door does not have a peephole ask the person to identify themselves by voice. If in doubt, don’t open the door - call Campus Safety (x6912) to verify the person’s identity before admitting them into your room.
  • Report strangers and suspicious circumstances. Many successful thefts of jewelry, money, etc. are camouflaged by the perpetrator gaining entry to your room by pretending to sell candy or solicit donations.
  • Do not leave your MAC card or credit cards where they can be spotted and stolen. Such a theft can occur and the actor can empty your bank account before you even notice the card missing. NEVER write your PIN number on the card or give it to anyone.
  • Never lend your room key to anyone.
  • Do not give out the combination of your room door lock to anyone.
  • Never prop exterior doors. Help keep your fellow student safe.
  • Most importantly, lock your room each and every time you leave the room, no matter how brief you plan on being gone.
  • Campus Safety would be happy to provide a presentation, conducted by a certified crime prevention professional, in your residence hall. Contact Campus Safety at Ext. 6912 to make arrangements.

If You Receive Harassing or Obscene Phone Calls

  • Keep calm and hang up immediately. Crank callers want to get a frightened or angry response from you. So do not try to analyze the caller or prolong the call.
  • Do not give any information to strangers over the phone.
  • Do not try to figure out who is calling. Extending the call is what the crank caller wants.
  • Do not tell others of the calls. Many obscene or harassing calls are made by acquaintances, family members, or a girlfriend / boyfriend. Only discuss the calls with the proper authorities.
  • Never give your phone number to strangers or anonymous callers.
  • Report all calls to the Campus Safety at 6912.
  • Remember: If you receive a harassing phone call, the caller does not necessarily have to know you personally. Your name and phone number could have been taken from any one of a number of sources most of which, are public information.

Personal Safety

Prevention is being alert and being prepared:

  • Avoid poorly lit streets, alleys and pathways.
  • Keep alert; if you see a person acting suspiciously, head for bright lights and people.
  • Never jog alone; stick to a planned route and run with a friend.
  • Never hitch hike!
  • Your first defense is noise - Scream!, scream "Fire" to help attract attention.
  • Convey confidence through body language - walk with your head up and be alert!
  • If you are working or studying late and encounter (or observe) a suspicious person(s), notify Campus Safety immediately. Immediate notification to Campus Safety will increase your safety, may prevent a crime, and may assist Campus Safety in locating a criminal.


It can occur anywhere - in a parking lot, at a gas station, or even at a traffic signal. If you drive your car on campus or leave your car on campus, there are some common sense precautions you can take to avoid becoming a victim of a carjacking:

Before you enter your car...

  • Be alert to any activity near the car. Pay attention to your surroundings.
  • When approaching your car to enter it, have your key in hand, and check the handles, locks and back seat before entering.
  • If someone is loitering near your unoccupied car as you approach it, keep walking and contact Campus Safety for an escort.

Once you're in your car...

  • Keep the doors locked and windows up.
  • Be suspicious of people approaching your car asking for directions or change, or
    giving out flyers.
  • When stopping in traffic, leave enough distance between your car and the one in front
    of you so you can pull away quickly if necessary.
  • If another driver bumps your car, or your tire goes flat, keep your doors locked and
    windows up and wait for Police to arrive or drive to the nearest Police station.
  • Be alert when using drive-up automated teller machines (ATM).

Operation Identification

A thief’s greatest risk is being "caught in the act", and the second greatest risk is being caught with the evidence. If an item has been inscribed with a driver’s license number, the information can be entered into a computer and the owner can be identified. This knowledge alone may act as a major deterrent to a potential thief. Operation ID tells a thief that you're determined to protect your belongings.

Operation ID is an anti-theft program. The primary goals are to deter thefts and help Campus Safety and local police recover property that is stolen and identify the owner. Electric engravers, and other marking tools are available through Campus Safety. Items that may be engraved include: appliances, electronic equipment, computer equipment, clothing/bags, and bicycles.

Engrave your property with your driver’s license number. Do not use your social security number. Precede the license number with the state abbreviation. Example: PA 12 345 678

Record serial numbers, brand names, model names, serial numbers, and detailed descriptions of your property so that if you are the victim of a theft, information can be given to Campus Safety and the local police.

Preventing Theft

Chances are that you will be a victim of theft sometime in your lifetime; however, there are ways to minimize the opportunities thieves have to commit a theft.

  • Close and lock the doors and windows to your home, office, or room whenever you leave, even if it is only for a couple of minutes. It only takes seconds for a thief to enter and walk away with an item.
  • Do not keep your purse, wallet, keys, etc. out in the open to be seen. Put them in a drawer, file cabinet, closet, etc. Don't let them become an attractive and easy target.
  • Try to keep small valuable objects (CD's, jewelry, expensive knick-knacks, etc.) away from doorways or open windows. They can be easily taken when you are not looking as a thief walks by the doorway or window.
  • Don’t let it become common knowledge or display signs where you keep your valuables. Remember, who you tell a secret to may tell someone else (even without meaning to). And you don’t always know who else may overhear it.

If you do become a victim of theft:

  • Notify Campus Safety immediately (or if not on campus, to the local police).
  • Notify any credit card companies, and/or any other organization your stolen items may access or use.

Bicycle Safety

Bicycles are a convenient mode of transportation preferred by many members of Gettysburg College's community. The following tips are offered in the hope that your cycling experience at Gettysburg will be a safe one and your bike will remain secure (and with you!) during your stay.

  • Be alert and conscientious; yield to pedestrians and motorists.
  • Keep to the right, ride defensively and use hand signals.
  • Walk your bike across busy intersections.
  • Always lock your bike with a good lock. Secure to a bike rack. Bike racks are located on and around campus and residence halls.
  • Do not park bikes inside entryways, stairwells, handicapped areas or designated "fire lane" areas.

Emergency Call Boxes

Emergency Call Boxes were designed and strategically placed throughout the campus in order to provide emergency assistance to the Gettysburg College Community. They are located throughout the campus and parking lot areas.
Emergency Call Boxes are your direct link to Campus Safety in the event of an emergency, such as reporting a suspicious person or circumstance, a medical emergency or an emergency escort.

Semester Break Safety Tips

Campus Safety wishes you a safe trip, whether it is back home or to another destination...

Campus Safety is concerned about you and your belongings. We hope that you enjoy your break away from school. The significant decrease in student occupancy during break periods makes a campus environment an attractive target for thieves.

Here are some simple safety precautions you can take to reduce your chances of being a victim of theft.

  • Make sure door and window locks are functioning properly and report defects to your Resident/ Apartment Assistant or Facilities Management immediately.
  • Plan to take valuables such as: jewelry, money, family heirlooms, laptops, camera/video equipment home with you for safe keeping.
  • Large items such as televisions and stereos should be engraved with your driver's license number.
  • Smaller items of value such as: DVDs, CDs and Nintendo/PlayStation games should be well secured or taken home.
  • Report suspicious persons to Campus Safety (6911) immediately.
  • Be alert for persons "hanging around" on the floors or near the entrances of your hall or apartment building.
  • When leaving your room or apartment lock your windows and doors. Unplug and turn off appliances and lights.
  • Don’t allow acquaintances to stay in your room or apartment while you are away. Don’t give your key or combination to anyone.
  • Keep your travel plans confidential and don’t put travel information on your answering machine or voicemail.
  • What do I do if I am leaving my vehicle on campus during the holiday/semester break?
  • If you must leave your vehicle on campus, make sure that your vehicle is secure and Do not leave valuables in your vehicle.

Identity Theft

Transactions can take place over the phone or Internet making it difficult to verify the true identity of the individual. While there is some use of this "high-tech" means to steal, most law enforcement sources will tell you that most of the thefts are done in a low-tech, hands-on way. Most are committed by family, friends, coworkers and former spouses, and anyone who has access to personal information. Strangers obtain this information from stolen purses, briefcases and mail left in unlocked cars or offices. They will sometimes steal mail from mailboxes. They look for pre-approved credit card mailings, card statements or tax returns. They also obtain this from "inside" sources such as store employees, cashiers and telemarketers. They will take this information, and pretending to be you, establish new accounts, ask about a lower rate, up your credit limit and then ask for a change of address. They will use information to open checking accounts and small loans. They then leave you will the bills and the negative credit report. In past cases they have even purchased large ticket items such as computers and even vehicles!

While you can't completely protect yourself, here are some ways to be safer.

Minimize your risk by:

  • Cancel unused credit cards and cut them up
  • Don't carry your social security card with you
  • Always check your credit statements. Report unauthorized purchases immediately.
  • Never give out your social security number over the phone
  • Shred statements when you are done with them
  • Always take your receipt!
  • Write "ASK FOR I.D." on the back of your credit card instead of signing it.

If you become a victim do these three things immediately:

  1. File a police report. Get a copy of the report.
  2. Close the accounts that have been used and contact security divisions of the card company.
  3. Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus. Report your identity has been stolen and ask that a "fraud alert" be placed on your file and no new credit be granted without your permission.