On Jan. 27, near the intersection of Westwood Boulevard and Weyburn Avenue, someone approached a UCLA employee from behind and attempted to drag her into a white van. The employee resisted, and the man gave up and fled with his accomplice.
On Jan. 28, near Landfair Avenue and Strathmore Drive, a man blocked the victim’s path with his car and tried to take the victim’s cargo bag.
Several other incidents have been reported, and in light of these attacks, it is important to keep in mind some important tips to stay safe around Westwood (and most other college towns).
UCPD released a Crime Alert reminding people to take the following precautions:
1) Stay alert and attuned to things around you, especially suspicious activities or people. Being alert, then, also means that you should not be talking on your cell phone or listening to your iPod on the way home if you are walking by yourself. Understandably, people may feel more comfort talking to someone else on the phone when they have to walk home alone, but this may actually place you in a more vulnerable position, which brings me to the next point.
2) Do not walk alone at night. This can be a hard tip to follow, what with work, hanging out and so on. But, if you can, try to get someone to walk with you. Escort service is also available on and around campus from dusk until 1 a.m. You can call them at (310) 794-WALK. Also, add the UCPD dispatch number to your cell phone. The number is (310) 825-1491. With cell phones able to store many hundreds of numbers, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t program one more number in there.
3) Watch for people following you or loitering near your car. If you are walking towards your car and you see someone loitering nearby, go to a public place until the person leaves. Also, if you feel like someone is following you, do not go home, but rather go to the nearest police or fire station or any other well-lit place.
If you somehow end up being a victim of a crime, try and take as many mental notes of the suspect’s physical appearance and mannerisms, which will aid in apprehending them.
Being in a college town can be like living in a bubble, but that doesn’t mean it’s always safe. Take precautionary measures and watch out for your safety.