Editor’s Note: As of June 30, 2019, Case Western Reserve uses Rave Guardian. CWRU Shield is no longer active and should be deleted from all mobile devices. Download Rave Guardian on the App Store and Google Play.

With classes starting Monday, we at The Daily wanted to give the newest members of our community some key safety tips—and remind others of steps they can take to help keep secure on campus.

The first and most important point: Always keep in mind that Case Western Reserve is an urban campus. The architectural and natural beauty of this area can feel removed from big-city realities, but in fact the university is part of a major metropolitan area. Just as we enjoy its benefits—extraordinary cultural opportunities and big-league sports—we also must be mindful of its challenges.

Case Western Reserve has had its own police department since 2006. As part of the Division of Public Safety, officers provide self-defense training, instructional videos and a broad range of other services—among them Safe Ride, walking escorts, and the CWRU Shield App. Available free from the iPhone App Store or Google Play, CWRU Shield can make it easier for safety personnel to find the user in the event they are trapped in a building or need assistance somewhere on campus. It has several other safety functions as well.

Ultimately, though, many of the most effective steps to enhance your safety come from your own choices. Among the most critical is ensuring you have current contact information in our safety alert system, RAVE. The university uses RAVE to communicate urgent messages to faculty, staff and students—among them weather closures or delays; stay-in-place directions in the event of danger on campus; and areas to avoid should a fire, major accident or weather-related event happen at or near the university.

RAVE automatically sends emails and landline telephone messages to everyone with a university network ID. But the system also can reach users on their cell phones and personal emails—if they submit this information themselves.

To add your cell number(s) or personal email address and/or check that the system has your correct university email or university landline phone, visit getrave.com. Step-by-step instructions to update your information are available at case.edu/publicsafety/emergency-preparedness/rave-alerts/.

Other safety-related suggestions:

  1. Take off the earbuds and keep your eyes off your smartphone. The simple acts of looking up and listening to your surroundings can make all the difference between avoiding a problematic situation and walking right into it.
  1. Don’t just look away from the smartphone—put it away. Staring down at your device while walking too often can prove irresistible to someone eager for extra cash. Especially when the culprit is riding a bike, the phone can be taken from your hands and dozens of yards away in the blink of an eye.
  1. Keep devices and other valuables with you—or locked in your room. Even if you’re stepping away from a library table for just a moment, bring your backpack with you. It’s a lot easier to gather your things when stepping away than to arrange to replace a laptop, phone, and everything else in your backpack. (Either way, back up your devices regularly).
  1. Walk in groups whenever possible—especially at night. The more people a thief sees, the less likely an attempt to steal and run.
  1. Do not hesitate to contact campus police. If you see someone acting suspiciously (for example, testing multiple locked doors on buildings, loudly confronting someone on a sidewalk or gesturing in a threatening way), call 368.3333 immediately to report what you’ve seen.

For more information on safety at Case Western Reserve, visit case.edu/publicsafety.