General Tips & Planning

Personal Safety Tips

  • Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you.
  • Be alert to potential danger. If something doesn’t look right or feel right, trust your instincts.
  • Anticipate possible problems and know where emergency and courtesy phones are located.
  • Don’t walk alone at night. Walk with friends whenever possible. If you must walk alone, stay in well lit and well traveled areas. If you’re on campus call University Police for an escort.
  • Have your keys out and ready before reaching your door or vehicle.
  • When walking to your vehicle, do a visual check of the area and other cars parked close to yours. Be aware of any places where someone could be hiding. Check in and around your vehicle before you get in.
  • If you think someone is following you, change directions and call the police.
  • Program University Police 828.232.5000 and other area law enforcement phone numbers into your cell phone.
    • ​Asheville Police Department Dispatch: 828.252.1110
    • Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department Dispatch: 828.250.6670
  • Always keep bags and backpacks closed. Avoid hanging your bag on the back of a chair.
  • When using headphones, keep the volume at a level that you can hear sounds around you.
  • If you see something suspicious, such as someone driving aimlessly through parking lots or walking around looking into windows of parked vehicles, call the police immediately.

Residence Hall Security Tips

  • Take responsibility for your own security.
  • Keep your room door locked at all times. It only takes seconds for items to disappear.
  • If you loose your key, report it immediately.
  • Help keep the residence hall entrance doors secure. Don’t prop them open.
  • Don’t bring valuable jewelry, antiques or heirlooms to campus.
  • Record model and serial numbers of your stereo equipment, computers, iPods, televisions and appliances. You can register these items with University Police and request to have an ID number or name engraved on them.
  • Don’t make purchases from door to door sales people. It is against university policy and more often than not and these can be con artists focusing on college students.
  • Keep a close eye on your cash, credit cards, and checkbook. Pay particular attention to checks missing from the middle of your checkbook.

Don’t bring firearms or other weapons such as knives, swords, air powered guns, bows and arrows or fireworks on campus. It is a violation of state law and it puts everyone else at risk.

Vehicle Security Tips

  • Keep your car doors locked and windows up at all times.
  • Don’t leave purses, wallets or other valuable items in plain view. Put them under the seat, in the trunk or take them with you. Thieves take items they can see so don’t give them an easy target.
  • Stereos, speakers and mobile devices are favorite targets for thieves, even if your doors are locked. It is not uncommon for thieves to bust windows or slim jim the locks.
  • Park in well lit and well traveled areas.
  • If you have a bicycle, record the brand name, model and serial numbers and register it with University Police.

Safety Planning

What is a Safety Plan?

A safety plan is a practical plan that can help you avoid dangerous situations and know the best way to react when you’re in danger. Often victims of domestic violence create safety plans as a guide to help lower risk of being hurt by an abuser. Personalized safety plans include information specific to you and your life that will help keep you safe. A good safety plan helps think through lifestyle changes that help keep you safe in the dorms and other places you go on a daily basis.

How to make a Safety Plan

You don’t have to be a victim of domestic or sexual violence to create a safety plan. Some basic safety plan questions to think about include:

  1. The safest way for me to get to class is…
  2. If I feel threatened or unsafe when I am on campus, I can go to these public areas where I feel safe (dining hall, quad, etc.,)…
  3. I can tell these people (hall mates, roommates, friends, RAs) about what is going on and where I am going…
  4. The safest way for me to leave the dorms in an emergency is…
  5. During an emergency, I can call the following friends, family members, or Residence Life staff at any time of the day or night…
  6. These are the campus and community resources I could reach out to in case of an emergency…

If you are a victim of domestic violence, there are specific steps you should take when formulating a safety plan. You can download a template for college students or fill out an interactive version online at* You can also contact University Police at 828.232.5000 to have an officer assist you with a safety plan.

*The online version requires you to enter information into an online form. Before you begin, be sure that the computer you are using is in a safe location and is not being monitored by your partner. There are ways that abusive partners can monitor your computer.

360 Stay Safe

360 Stay Safe is an online training program that helps students, faculty, and staff create a safe and healthy campus community. You can watch the training videos for free here:

  1. Introduction
  2. Sexual Assault 
  3. Safe Travel 
  4. Stalking 
  5. Protecting your Possessions and Identity
  6. Everyday Safety
  7. Controlling Behavior
  8. Common Sense Defense

Suspicious Mail / Package Procedures

Past events have prompted UNC Asheville to implement procedures to help screen mail for suspicious items. University Police has instructed the Mail Services staff and student workers on safety precautions and mail screening. Although UNC Asheville Mail Services will provide initial screening of incoming mail, the campus is urged to use care and vigilance in handling envelopes and packages at work and home. Should a suspicious letter or package be identified on campus, contact University Police at 828.232.5000. University Police will respond and immediately secure the area and begin a preliminary investigation. University Police may be assisted by the Asheville Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Team or the Asheville Police Department Bomb Squad, and appropriate state and federal authorities as needed. All reported incidents will be treated as a very serious matter and instances of hoaxes will be dealt with severely. Below is a summary of mail handling guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Postal Service. There is also a series of related links located at the bottom of this page.

Be alert: Be aware of letters or packages that have any kind of suspicious traits. These traits include the following:

  • Any powdery substance on the outside
  • Handwritten or poorly typed addresses
  • Misspellings of common words
  • Incorrect or non-existent departments or position titles
  • Excessive postage
  • An unusual amount of tape
  • Oily stains, discolorations or strange odors
  • Have no return address, or have one that can’t be verified as legitimate
  • Are marked with restrictive endorsements, such as “Personal” or “Confidential”

If you identify a suspicious letter or package, do not panic:

  • Do not shake or empty the contents of any suspicious envelope or package
  • Place the envelope or package in a plastic bag, wastebasket or other container and cover the container with clothing, paper, another wastebasket
  • Leave the room and close the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering
  • Wash your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading any powder to your face
  • Call University Police at 828.232.5000 or dial 911
  • Make a list of those who were in the area of the letter or parcel and give the list to University Police

If you have opened a letter or package that contains powder, do not panic:

  • Do not try to clean up the powder.
  • Cover the powder immediately with clothing, a trash can or other available means, and do not remove cover.
  • Leave the room and close the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading any powder to your face.
  • Call University Police – dial 5000 from an on-campus phone, or 828.232.5000 from any other phone.
  • Remove, if possible, heavily contaminated clothing and place in a bag or waste basket. Give the clothing to the emergency responders for proper handling.
  • Shower with soap and water as soon as possible. Do not use bleach or other disinfectant on your skin.
  • Make a list of those who were in the area of the letter or parcel and give the list to University Police.

Room contamination by an aerosol product:

  • Turn off fans or ventilation units in the area.
  • Leave the room and close the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering
  • Call University Police – dial 5000 from an on-campus phone, or 828.232.5000 from any other phone.
  • University Police will contact Facilities Management to shut down the air handling system
  • Make a list of those who were in the area and give the list to University Police.