Student walking in front of a blue emergency phone on campus

Crime Prevention Programs and Services

As a member of the WSU community, you play a vital role in promoting safety and protecting property and lives by acting responsibly.

Personal safety is best accomplished as a team effort undertaken by university officials, the community and you. Everyone has a role in crime prevention - avoid potentially unsafe situations whenever possible and report crime promptly. 

Prevention is the best aid to your own personal safety. For example, walk in well-lit areas or use academic buildings during high traffic times. We encourage you to become aware of potential safety hazards at all times. 

Reporting suspicious incidents can help keep the campus safer.

Even if you are not sure what you see is really a crime, call Campus Security (507.457.5555) or the Winona Police Department (507.457.6302) and let them decide.

You may also want to report suspicious incidents to your Hall Director, Resident Assistant, or other university official. Please join us in working toward an even safer campus.

Crime Prevention Advice

These are some strategies for preventing crime and creating a safe campus environment.

Over half a million bicycles are stolen every year. Most of these are multi-speed models valued in excess of $100 or more.

Hundreds of bicycles are reported stolen each year in the City of Winona, and most thefts that occur at WSU are bicycles.

Many bicycles are stolen and ridden several blocks before being discarded. Others are stripped, repainted and used by the thief for their own personal use.

Many bikes are recovered by the Winona Police Department and are stored at an evidence holding facility.

If your bicycle has been stolen the police department allows viewing of all recovered bicycles every Wednesday (after 5pm) and Saturday morning.

Prior to viewing, you must first phone the Winona Police Department at 507.457.6302 to make an appointment.

Protect Your Bike

Take a few extra minutes to practice some simple theft prevention tips:

  • Use a case hardened chain
  • Always chain the rear wheel and the frame to a stationary object in a conspicuous place
  • Never leave a bicycle unchained and unattended for even a short time
  • Store your bicycle indoors whenever possible
  • Write down the make, model, serial number and description of your bicycle so it can be easily identified

Report the theft of your bicycle immediately to WSU Security and the Winona Police Department.

One of the major expenses of attending a university is the cost of textbooks. Textbooks can be resold for cash and make an attractive target for thieves.

Throughout the year, Campus Security receives a number of reports of book thefts especially at the end of the semester and around holidays.

Here are several tips that will help reduce your chances of being a victim of book theft:

  • Never leave your books unattended at any time
  • Leave your door locked, even when your room is occupied
  • Place your name, or an identifying mark or number in the book. Pick a page and location in the book that you will remember. If the book is stolen and recovered you will be able to positively identify it.

Report any book theft to Campus Security immediately.

You can help make the campus safer and more secure by:

  • Recognizing and avoiding potentially risky situations
  • Reporting any theft or suspicious behavior to Campus Security

Take Charge of Your Own Safety

  • Be alert and walk purposefully. Confidence deters attackers.
  • Carry a personal alarm
  • Use lighted corridors and sidewalks at night. Avoid secluded or dark places, walk with friends, or call for an escort.
  • Be wary of strangers on foot or in cars asking directions - it is better to be rude than to be in trouble
  • If someone follows you, go to a place where there are other people
  • Take a self-defense course. For details on courses available contact the Security at 457.5555.
  • When you are socializing, play it smart. One drink too many could make you vulnerable.

When Taking Public Transportation

  • Know your timetables to avoid long waits - especially if you are alone
  • Rather than sitting in a secluded or closed shelter, you should stick to open, populated areas in full view of taxis, buses or trains
  • When using taxis, especially if you are alone, have someone else see you off. You should also keep a note of the taxi number, sit in the back seat on the opposite side to the driver, and don't disclose personal information.

When Taking Your Car

  • Park in well-lit, busy areas
  • Hold your keys ready to open the door and be prepared to use them to jab an attacker
  • Check the back seat or hatch for intruders before getting into the car
  • Once inside, lock all doors and, if possible, leave windows up until you've reached your destination safely
  • Avoid parking in remote lots. Move your car closer if you plan to be on campus after dark. If you arrive on campus late at night, drive up to Sheehan Hall, walk in, and request Security to escort you to parking areas and back to the residence halls.

Laptop computers have become prime targets for both the casual and experienced thief. With laptops valued up to $5,000 the incidence of thefts are increasing.

Even though the incidence of laptop theft at Winona State University is very low, thefts do occur.

There are a number of strategies that may either prevent the theft of laptops or aid in their recovery if you should become a victim.

Some of are common sense, while others feature a more physical approach to the issues.

  • Never leave your laptop unattended
  • Keep your residence hall room locked at all times
  • Record the make, model and serial number of you computer and any other devices associated with it. The University will generally keep a record of your laptop, however, you should also keep a record.
  • Keep your laptop away from accessible windows where the thief can quickly break the window, reach in and remove the machine from your room.
  • In a residence hall, be mindful of leaving a laptop unattended in common spaces such as study rooms or, kitchens. Because the residence hall is viewed as home, it is easy to become too trusting and complacent.
  • In the residence hall room, care should also be exercised. Though you may know and trust your roommate, the roommate's friends may not be as trustworthy. Your laptop should be locked in a closet or drawer when not in use; or secure it to the desk top with an approved security device.
  • The doors to labs, office spaces and residence halls rooms should be secured whenever your laptop is left unattended. If possible, the laptop should be stored in a locked file cabinet or secured with a locking device.
  • If your office is equipped with a lock, use it any time you’re away. It sounds simple, but many office thefts are crimes of opportunity often committed by strangers or employees who simply walk through the building looking for items of value.
  • Report suspicious activity to Security immediately
  • Be careful about your laptop in the library. Take it with you when you leave your table or use a cable lock to temporarily secure it to the top of a study desk.
  • Bookstores frequently require you to place book bags and books on storage bins outside the store. Ideally, such containment areas should be lockable. If not, you may be able to check the laptop in with the store staff, otherwise, leave your laptop at home or with a friend who remains outside the store. Check with the store staff, you may be able to take it with you into the store.

Report the theft of your laptop immediately to Winona State University Security and/or the Winona Police Department.

Crime Stoppers is a non-profit citizen's organization developed to help law enforcement agencies solve crimes by providing anonymity to people reporting information and providing a reward for information leading to the arrest and formal charging.

Solving a crime is like putting together the pieces of a puzzle. Individuals can often provide a missing piece but are either afraid or do not wish to become involved. Crime Stoppers encourages people to provide crime information by offering a cash reward plus anonymity.

When a crime-related call is received by Crime Stoppers, it is logged with the date, time, and a summary of the caller's information. Callers are often given a code number that is used on all subsequent calls by the same person regarding the case.

Cash rewards are paid to individuals whose information leads to the arrest and formal charging of a suspect. The Board of Directors oversees the program and approves the rewards to be paid.

Law enforcement agencies provide details of unsolved crimes for the release to the media. An unsolved crime is selected each week to be presented. People are requested to call Crime Stoppers on these "Unsolved Crimes of the Week," or any crime they may have information about.

The reward money comes from individual donations to Crime Stoppers and grants from businesses and foundations.

You and every citizen in the Winona County area benefits from every crime solved.

The best tips are those which are factual and can be substantiated, such as:

  • Names and addresses of suspects
  • Dates and times of the crime
  • Positive identification of a suspect
  • License numbers of vehicles involved
  • Identifiable characteristics of a suspect
  • Personal knowledge of any crime

Since the foundation of Crime Stoppers in 1987, numerous crimes have been solved in Winona County.

Contact Crime Stoppers at 507.457.6530.

WSU Security will provide escorts to students, faculty, or employees of the university within a four blocks radius of campus.

Escorts generally are not provided during the daytime hours without the permission of the on-duty supervisor or Director of Security (and must be for safety-related needs).

Students traveling to East Lake Campus are encouraged to use the van or Shuttle Service.

For individuals desiring and escort when returning to campus late at night, drive up to the emergency phone located on the south side of Sheehan Hall (next to the stairway). Press the talk button and make arrangements with Security to be escorted from your parking location to you residence.

Schedules for the City of Winona Transit System, van and weekend Shuttle Service are available online or at WSU Security, Parking Services, and the Housing Office.

It is often necessary for faculty and staff members to work at the University during non-business hours.

When this occurs and particularly when the employee is working alone and/or at an isolated workstation, Campus Security suggests the following preventive safety practices.

  • When you arrive at the university always park in well-lit parking lots
  • Campus Security offers an escort service 24 hours a day. Courtesy phones are located throughout the campus and can be used for requesting escorts.
  • When you leave your car, remember to lock the doors. Remote controlled locks using a key chain transmitter are recommended to better ensure locking and to aid in quick entry when you return.
  • When walking to your workstation, travel on lighted walkways. Avoid the temptation to use shortcuts and informal pathways and try to stay away from areas where visibility is blocked by trees and shrubs.
  • When you turn a blind corner try to walk on the outermost side of the path, away from the blind spot, while keeping your eye on the path ahead. Taking a wide turn allows a greater field of vision and increases the time available for your reaction in a threatening situation.
  • Make sure you have the necessary key to access your workstation. Carry the key in your hand as you approach your work area with the correct key available for use in the door.
  • When you arrive at your building or workstation if anything simply doesn't feel right or causes you to be suspicious, trust your instincts and call Campus Security.
  • If you enter a locked building, please re-lock the door and close it tightly
  • If the door to your office or workstation is supposed to be locked and is not, do not enter. Go to the nearest courtesy phone location and call Campus Security. Know Campus Security's phone number: 457.5555
  • Use sufficient internal lighting to illuminate your workplace and internal building pathways.
  •  If you leave your office or workstation to use the restroom, remember to lock the office or workstation door behind you. Do not enter a dark restroom.
  • When you return to your car after leaving your office or workstation, watch for suspicious persons nearby and look into the front and back seats before you open the door.

WSU is determined to provide a campus environment free of violence for all members of the campus community.

For this reason, WSU does not tolerate sexual assault, stalking, domestic and/or dating violence.

If you are a victim of sexual violence, please reach out for sexual violence resources or call the 24/7 Advocacy Center of Winona crisis line at 507.452.4453.

One fifth of all crimes in the United States are auto thefts. A car is stolen every 33 seconds, every day of the year. Most vehicles are stolen because it was easy to do so. Eighty percent of vehicles stolen are left unlocked and 42% had the keys left inside. Generally, auto thieves will steal your vehicle to joyride or use in another crime. Auto thieves will also steal valuables left inside your car.

Security offers several tips that will help reduce your chances of being a victim of motor vehicle theft:

  • Take several extra seconds to lock your vehicles doors, windows, and trunk
  • Lock up and pocket the keys
  • Don't leave items of value, such as packages, luggage or other expensive items inside your vehicle. Always take them with you or secure them in the trunk.

Report the theft of your vehicle immediately to WSU Security and/or the Winona Police Department.

It is a violation of Minnesota Laws to make harassing telephone calls. Unfortunately, criminals have found the telephone a useful device to threaten or intimidate people.

The following is presented as a guide to help you prepare for the possibility that you may receive one of these calls and to help you deal with the call effectively.

Threatening Calls

Anyone threatening to cause injury or death to a person or damage to their property is committing the most serious offense of this nature.

These calls should always be reported to the police.

Obscene Calls

The victim of this crime is usually a female and is selected randomly until the perpetrator receives the reaction that he has been looking for. The caller uses his anonymity to fantasize about the person he has called.

These calls should also be reported to your local telephone company.

Harassing or Annoying Calls

These calls should be reported initially to the phone company.

What To Do When A Call Is Received

  • Most often the caller is looking for a reaction to the call. Do not react to it.
  • Don't ask questions of the caller (i.e. Who is this?) as this is what they would like you to do.
  • Hang up the receiver promptly and gently. Any other response may provide the caller with a sense of accomplishment since they may wish to either frighten or anger you.
  • Never blow a whistle or yell into the phone. The caller will know that you are angry and may call back.
  • If you begin receiving calls on a regular basis, make a log of the dates, times and content of the calls.

Where To Go For Help

  • If you receive threatening phone calls notify the Winona Police Department at 507.457.6368
  • If you are receiving obscene, annoying, or harassing phone calls contact your phone company
  • If you live on campus, and are being harassed and wish to have your phone number changed you should contact the Director of Security
  • If you should have any questions concerning harassing, obscene or threatening phone calls you should contact the Director of Security for additional information

Surveillance cameras are located in specified public areas throughout WSU including:

  • Main Campus
  • Lourdes, Tau and Maria
  • the East Lake Campus

These public areas are under 24 hour camera surveillance. They may or may not be monitored at all times.