Crime Prevention

The primary responsibility for the programs and services of the Crime Prevention Unit rests with Officer Mark Dingman.

The goal of the unit is to increase community awareness about the risk of campus crime through crime prevention services, tips, and alerts and to generate a sense of personal responsibility in each individual to prevent or reduce criminal opportunities.

The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators offers additional Personal Safety Tips at

Crime Prevention Services

  • Provides crime prevention publications, literature and materials to the Williams community.
  • Does crime prevention presentations before Williams College organizations, departments and groups on a variety of topics.
  • Provides active shooter and enhanced lock-down training in coordination with the Massachusetts State Police and the Williamstown Police Department to college departments.
  • Performs home and commercial security surveys.  A survey of the interior, exterior, internal controls, and accountability of a facility is conducted to determine vulnerability to criminal activity.  A written report with recommendations will be sent upon request.
  • Conducts personal property inventories and engraving upon request. This is instrumental in recovering stolen property.
  • Registers bicycles of Williams College students for the Williamstown Police Department, as is required of students by town and state law.
  • Provides information of current criminal activity to the community through “Security Alerts.”
  • Notifies organizations, departments and individuals of security violations that pose a crime risk.

Crime Prevention Tips

Personal Safety:

  • Always be alert and aware of your surroundings and to activity around you.  Know that fatigue, alcohol, drugs and distractions diminish your awareness.
  • Walk with others at night or call the campus escort service at 597-4400.
  • Walk in well lit, well traveled areas, walk in the middle of sidewalks away from doorways, trees and shrubs.  Walk with confidence, erect and with purpose.
  • Know your safety resources: emergency phones, open establishments, offices, the Campus Safety Services Department and other locations that can provide you with a safe haven.
  • If being followed, reverse directions, cross the street, go to a safety resource and contact security.
  • If approached for directions, keep a safe distance from the stranger and never enter a vehicle.
  • While sleeping, make sure your room door is locked.
  • Trust your feelings and instincts.
  • Like activity or lighting, criminals do not like noise.  Carry a noise device and remember to use your voice to call attention to yourself or a situation.
  • Do what you must do to survive; escape, negotiate, use force or submit.  Each situation is different and only you can decide what action is best.

Theft Prevention:

  • Lock your room door, whether you’re inside sleeping or leaving for only a few seconds.  This is the single greatest deterrent to theft.
  • Draw your drapes, window curtains or shades at night.
  • Avoid leaving a note on your door that says you are not in.
  • Report broken locks, doors, windows or lights to B&G.
  • Keep money and jewelry in a safe place, out of sight.  Don’t carry a large amount of cash with you and don’t flash money in public view.
  • Don’t keep valuables in an unattended back-pack or in a locker at the gym (locked or unlocked).
  • Respect and ensure the integrity of the security card access system.  Don’t prop doors open or try to defeat the system by some other method.  You not only place your personal safety and valuables in jeopardy, but that of your housemates.
  • Inventory and engrave your valuables.  Use your driver’s-license number followed by the state, or SSN if you do not have a license.  This will make recovery easier and makes it easy to prove ownership.
  • Always remove the keys from your car and lock it.  If you have valuables in your car, place them in the trunk or out of public view.  Park as near to a pole light when possible.  When returning to your car, have your keys in hand and check the backseat for intruders before you get in.  Once inside, relock the doors.  Don’t put your name, address or phone number on key rings.
  • Always lock your bike, use a U-shaped lock if possible, otherwise use at least a 5/8″ case hardened steel chain and lock.  Put the lock through both wheels and the frame and secure it to an immovable object like a bike stand, but be sure your bike does not block sidewalks or building entrance.  Be able to identify your bike, put it on your inventory form, save your sales receipt.
  • Bicycle RackRegister your bike with the Police, via Campus Safety Services, it’s the law {85/11b}.  Over 15,000 bikes are stolen every day, 75% are recovered, but only 2-5% are returned to their owners because of lack of legal evidence of ownership or because the Agency cannot match the recovered bike with a larceny report.  Regarding bikes, we encourage you to wear an approved helmet.  Fewer than 20% of adult bicyclists wear helmets while 75% of deaths and disabling injuries could have been prevented if riders wore a proper helmet.  Also, obey traffic laws and signals, you are subject to these laws and regulations {MGL.85-1lb}.  For night riding, you are required to have a headlight and a rear light or reflector.  Ride with traffic, use hand signals, yield to pedestrians, ride predictably and don’t wear headphones.

General Tips:

  • Report harassing/obscene/or frequent hang-up calls to Campus Safety Services.
  • Fire alarms are not an unusual occurrence on Campus, but you must evacuate a building upon the sounding of the alarm.  Treat any alarm as an actual fire.  If you are aware of the cause of the alarm, meet the responding Officers outside the building and relay the information to them.
  • If you drive, don’t drink.  We don’t want to lose you or see anyone hurt or killed.
  • When inline skating, wear a helmet, wrist guards, elbow and knee pads.  Always wear protective gear, yield to pedestrians, stop at red lights and stop signs, skate on the right, pass on the left.  Anticipate the actions of others, don’t wear headphones.  Poor navigation results in 40% of all falls.  Avoid water, oil, sand, road debris, and sewer drains.
  • Use a crosswalk if there is one within three hundred feet of you {720 CMR-9.09}.  In 2013, pedestrian deaths accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes, 4735 pedestrians were injured.  The most frequent cause of these accidents is pedestrian error.  Drivers are required to yield at intersections without traffic lights to pedestrians within a marked crosswalk within their immediate path of travel.  Not to pedestrians at the curb, not to pedestrians approaching the crosswalk, not even to pedestrians in the cross walk in the on-coming lane.  Stop at the corner, curb, or parked car.  Look left, right, left again and if it is clear, begin to cross.  Continue to check the traffic in all directions, make eye contact with drivers to ensure that they see you.  Always use sidewalks, in areas without sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.  Watch for cars backing out of spaces and driveways.  Limit alcohol consumption when walking and wear retro-reflective stripes on your clothing and shoes if you are walking or jogging at night.
  • Watch for suspicious behavior.  Contact Campus Safety Services immediately if you see or hear suspicious or strange vehicles or people, screams, shattering glass, loud unusual noises.
  • Be aware and be alert, you can prevent criminal opportunity, take responsibility for your own protection and that of your neighbors, and utilize the crime prevention services offered by the Campus Safety Services Office.