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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Situational Awareness

Simply stated, situational awareness is being aware of what is going on around you and using your experiences and intuition to be more aware of the risks and to prevent or mitigate potential incidents. While our campuses are very safe, situational awareness is very important and can be used anytime, anywhere, including off campus. There are a number of steps you can take to increase your personal safety by honing your situational awareness skills.

Situational awareness and personal safety

Electronic distractions: Whether it’s being completely absorbed by your phone, walking and texting or listening to music, using electronic devices can seriously impair your ability to be aware of what is happening around you. Look up occasionally to scan your surroundings and if you’re using headphones, consider using only one or keeping the volume low enough to still be able to hear what is happening around you.

Scan: Most people automatically scan new situations or environments, but don’t always focus on the most useful information. Look for exits, barriers, suspicious objects and people, and any other unique elements that could be of importance to your personal safety. Be sure not to get complacent in familiar environments — just because it is safe one day does not mean it will be safe every day.

Confidence: Those with malicious intent generally single out individuals that appear meek, vulnerable or unaware of their surroundings. Body language plays and important role in how you are perceived by others — walk with purpose, look confident. Know where you are going and if you get lost, make it look like you know where you are — confidence is power! Regardless of how you feel it can help broadcast to any threats that you are an undesirable target and increase your personal safety.

Groups: If possible, walk in groups. The more people, the less likely a criminal is to strike.

Hidden areas: When walking, stay away from hidden doorways, shrubs, tall bushes and other areas that criminals may hide when stalking their prey.

Keys at the ready: Have your keys with you when you’re approaching your parked vehicle, or your home or office. If you see suspicious people, avoid your destination and go to a safe haven — places with people that are well lit.

Intuition: Trust your gut! If you get the sense that something is wrong or doesn’t add up, do not ignore it. Your instincts exist to protect you — it is always better to be overcautious than to ignore warning signs that turn out to be legitimate.

Stalking is unwanted and/or repeated surveillance by an individual or group toward another person — stalking behaviours are interrelated to harassment and intimidation. Trust your instincts, in the event that someone is harassing/stalking you on campus and you need immediate assistance, call Campus Security using the TRU SAFE app, any emergency phone or 250-828-5033 —they are available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For non-urgent assistance, no matter where or when stalking/harassment is taking place contact Student Services at 250-828-5023.

Stalking behaviors:

  • Someone is repeatedly threatening you
  • Someone is following, waiting and/or watching you
  • Someone is damaging your property
  • Someone is repeatedly calling or sending things to you, your friends, or family
  • You have changed your lifestyle because of these actions
  • You cannot do or go where you want.

Remember: personal safety begins with your awareness to your environment. Taking your safety seriously doesn’t just help you, but can benefit others as well.

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