University of Toronto

Community Safety Office

416.978.1485 CSO Main Line

Safety is a priority at the University of Toronto, with a number of services and programs to assist you. The safety tips listed below have been provided to help you plan for your personal safety at work and at home. Everyone has the right to live, work and study in safety and we all share in the responsibility to make this possible! with your assistance we can build a safer community!

Reporting a Crime

Whether you are a victim of a crime or a witness to a crime, call the police to report the incident. If the crime is in progress and it is safe for you to do so, call the police immediately by dialing 911 in order to increase the chance of the suspect being apprehended.

When you call the police, it is important that you know the street name, address and name of the building where you are located and where you saw the incident.

  • Immediately go to a safe place and call the police at 911 (Fire, Medical, Police)
  • Provide a description of the incident and remain on the phone until the operator says it is okay.
  • If the incident occurred on-campus, call Campus Police at 416.978.2222.
  • Call your supervisor, if possible and inform them of the incident.

What if you see something suspicious?

Suspicious Behavior? People are not suspicious, behavior is! If you notice something suspicious happening on campus contact Campus Police.

Examples of suspicious behavior include:

  • Unusual noises, including: screaming, sounds of fighting, glass breaking, or illegal activity.
  • People in buildings or areas who do not appear to be conducting legitimate business.
  • Unauthorized personnel in restricted areas.
  • People in the building who do not appear to be loitering.
  • Persons abandoning parcels or other items in unusual locations (i.e. in the lobby or in the elevator)

Increase Your Awareness: Safety in University Buildings

  • Be aware of the emergency numbers and post them in visible areas.  Preprogram your cell phone!
  • Know where the nearest exits are located if you need to escape.
  • Make note of emergency phones:  Downtown, UTM, UTSC
  • Know where the nearest fire alarm is located.
  • If you are working alone, ensure that the exterior doors and/or your main office door is locked.
  • Don't bring valuables, jewelry or large amounts of money to school/work if you don't have to.
  • Never prop open doors, even for a brief time. It may save you a few extra steps or a few moments, but it places the safety of everyone in your building at risk.
  • Lock your office door, even if you are leaving only for a few minutes.
  • If a tradesperson, repair person or courier requests admittance to your building, office or room, ask for identification. If you are not satisfied with the person's credentials, direct him or her to someone in authority for assistance.
  • If someone unknown requests entrance to your building, or attempts to enter a locked area with you, refuse them entry. Tell them, "I'm sorry, but we are very concerned about security in this building" or "If you will tell me whom you want to visit, I'll buzz them for you." If they persist, direct them to someone in authority. Report any unauthorized entry to your building security or to the University Police.
  • Be especially aware of maintaining security in your building during holiday or vacation periods, or during quiet times, when there are fewer people around.
  • Use the buddy system. If you are going to work late at night in a University building, try to locate yourself close to someone you know. Or, let someone else know where you are and when you expect to leave.

Increase Your Awareness: Safety on Elevators

  • If the person waiting to get on the elevator with you makes you feel uncomfortable, don't get in. If you are riding with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable, leave. Get off before the door closes, or leave at the next floor. You don't need to feel guilty for protecting yourself.
  • In elevators, stand near the control panel with your back against the wall. If you are threatened, hit the alarm button and as many floor buttons as possible.

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Increase Your Awareness: Safety in Parking Lots and Garages

  • When you know you will be returning to your car late at night, try to park it in a well lit area.
  • Before getting into your car, visually check the interior.
  • Have your keys in your hand, so that you don’t have to search for them when you reach your car.
  • Try not to park on levels of a parking garage that will be empty when you return.
  • Know your nearest safe exit route from a garage.
  • Back your car into a parking stall in a garage. This gives you greater visibility and allows you to drive away more quickly if you are being approached by a stranger.
  • When you leave your car, walk briskly and confidently. Do not be distracted.
  • If you are worried about becoming a target, vary your routine. Park in different spots at different times.

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Increase Your Awareness: While You Are Out

  • Be alert! - Being alert to what and who is around you is the best defence.  Walk with a self-assured stride, with your head up, and look around (persons who look strong and in control are less attractive targets).
  • Avoid listening to your iPod while walking on campus
  • Avoid walking alone on-campus at night.
  • Make note of emergency phones:  Downtown, UTM, UTSC
  • Avoid using short cuts or other routes that are less traveled and may obscure you from being seen by others.
  • Try to stay in well lit areas, and use routes that are frequently traveled by others.
  • Know where you are going - plan your route.
  • Have your keys or ID card ready in your hand. This prevents you having to fumble with your keys at the doors.
  • Be aware of what is going on around you. If you suspect you are being followed, indicate your suspicion by looking behind you. If you are on foot, cross the street, change directions or vary your speed. In a commercial or residential area, head for a place where there are other people as soon as possible
  • If someone is following you or you even think someone is following you, go immediately to a phone and call Campus Police or 911.

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Increase Your Awareness: Using an ATM machine

  • Try to avoid using an ATM by yourself. Either take someone with you or only use an ATM when others are around.
  • If possible, avoid using an ATM after dark. If you must, choose one that is well lighted and does not have tall bushes nearby.
  • When you arrive at an ATM, look around. If you are uncomfortable, do not stop.
  • Have everything you need ready when you approach an ATM.
  • When using the ATM, stay alert to your surroundings. Look up and around every few seconds while transacting your business.
  • Protect your personal identification number (PIN). Do not enter your PIN if anyone else can see you enter it. Shield your PIN from onlookers by using your body.
  • When your transaction is finished, be sure you have your card and your receipt and leave immediately. Do not count your money at the machine.

Your Safety Matters

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www.cso.utoronto.ca | Contacts | University Switchboard: (416) 978-2011