Safety After Dark

Some Tricks for Traveling More Safely

Remember: Fall back, Spring forward! Sunday, October 25, Daylight Saving Time comes to an end. This means we can all sleep an extra hour Sunday morning and still have breakfast at the usual time. It also means we lose an hour of daylight just around the time most of us are heading home from work or school. And the professional criminals gain an extra hour of prime-time darkness in which to work.

From the Special Services Department in Public Safety, here are some safety tips for everyone who uses public transportation.

--Susan A. Hawkins, Director of Special Services, Division of Public Safety

Public Transportation Safety Tips

  • Become familiar with the different bus and trolley routes and their schedules. SEPTA schedules and general information are now posted on the Web-the URL is or call 580-7800. Special Services, located at 4026 Chestnut Street, has print copies of the following SEPTA schedules:
    21, 42, 40 and 48 bus schedules
    10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 trolley schedules
  • When traveling at night it is better to use above-ground transportation systems. Buses, the above-ground stretches of subway/surface lines and elevated lines give less cover for criminal activity.
  • If you do travel underground, be aware of the emergency call boxes on the platform. These phones contact SEPTA Police. The phones operate much like the University's Blue Light Phones. To operate the SEPTA Phone, push the button. A SEPTA operator will identify your transit stop and assist you immediately.
  • Whenever possible, try to sit near the driver.
  • In the subway station stand back from the platform edge.
  • Don't fall asleep! Stay Alert!

Emergency Phones at Subway Stops

30th & Market Street--Subway surface SEPTA Emergency Phone located near the middle of the platform on the wall.

33rd & Market Street --SEPTA Emergency Phone on both the east and west platforms on the wall near the middle of the platform.

34th & Market Street--SEPTA Emergency Phone on the (EL) platform for east- and west-bound trains.

  • Blue Light Emergency Phone located at 34th & Chestnut outside of the lot on the northeast corner; also on the Law School's southwest corner of 34th & Chestnut.

36th & Sansom--SEPTA Emergency Phone on both the east and west platforms on the wall near the middle of the platform.

  • Blue Light Emergency Phone located at King's Court/English House on the northeast wall above the subway entrance.

37th & Spruce Street-SEPTA Emergency Phone near the middle of the west-bound platform on the wall and near the middle of the east-bound platform.

  • Blue Light Emergency Phone located across the street at the entrance to the Quad. In Dietrich Gardens near the east-bound entrance to the subway. Also, outside on the wall to the entrance of the Steinberg-Dietrich cafeteria.

40th & Market Street--El subway stop; SEPTA Emergency Phone located on the platform on the wall near the cashier.

33rd & South Street (University Station); SEPTA Emergency Phone located in middle of platform.

  • Blue Light Emergency Phone located at north-bound and south-bound stairwells of platform.

Traveling During Non-Peak Times

  • If possible use above-ground transportation
  • If you use subways, stand near the SEPTA call box.
  • If possible use the Market-Frankford El (elevated lines). In case of an emergency there is a cashier's booth staffed during hours of operation.
  • If possible travel with a companion(s).

During Peak Hours:
Watch Out for Pickpockets

Here are eight things pickpockets don't want you to know:

1. Never display money in a crowd. (Think this through before you leave the safety of your office, so you aren't fumbling in public with your purse or wallet).

2. Never wear necklaces, chains or other jewelry in plain view.

3. Handbag: Carry tightly under your arm with the clasp toward your body. Never let it dangle by the handle. Keep it with you at all times and always keep it closed. Never place it on a seat beside you.

4. Wallet: Carry in an inside coat pocket or side trouser pocket.

5. Immediately check your wallet or purse when you are jostled in a crowd. (And then be doubly wachful, because the jostling may have been a ploy to get you to reveal where you carry your money).

6. If your pocket is picked, call out immediately to let the operator and your fellow passengers know there is a pickpocket on the vehicle.

7. Beware of loud arguments and commotions aboard vehicles or on station platforms. Many times these incidents are staged to distract your attention while your pocket is picked.

8. If you suspect pickpockets at work on a particular transit route or subway station, call SEPTA Police Hotline, 580-4131/4132. It's answered 24 hours a day. You do not have to give your name. Trained personnel will take your information and see to it that something gets done. Also, notify Penn Police at 511, 573-3333 or Special Services at 898-6600, 24 hours.

Halloween Safety, Too

This is also a good weekend to pass some Halloween Safety Tips to any children you know:

  • Trick-or-treat in your neighborhood.
  • Only call on people you know.
  • Never go out alone. Go with friends. Ask your mom or dad, older sister or brother,or a neighbor to go along.
  • Stay in well-lighted areas.
  • Wear white or reflective clothing.
  • Carry a flashlight, glowstick or reflective bag.
  • Watch out for cars.
  • Have your parents inspect all treats before you eat them.

In the event of an emergency call:

 Philadelphia Police  911
 University of Pennsylvania Police  573-3333
 Children's Hospital of Philadelphia  590-3480
 Philadelphia Poison Control Center  386-2100

For additional safety tips, contact Special Services at 898-4481, 4026 Chestnut Street. The department is staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. (Emergency victim support services and sensitive crimes reporting is available 24 hours at 898-6600). For emergencies contact rhe Penn Police by using the Blue Light Phones or call 511 on campus, or call 573-3333 from off campus.

To contact the Philadelphia Police Department call 911.

Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 7, October 13, 1998