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Some Tricks for Traveling More Safely

Remember: Fall back, Spring forward! On Sunday, October 27, 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 Division of Public Safety, here are some safety tips for everyone who uses public transportation.

--Thomas A. Rambo, Chief of Police
--Patricia Brennan, 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 (215) 580-7800.
  • 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!


  • Operated by SEPTA, Monday through Friday except major holidays, 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • LUCY Loop departs 30th Street Station every 10 to 20 minutes and loops through University City.
  • For more information call (215) 580-7800.

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 westbound 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 Street--SEPTA Emergency Phone on both the east and west platforms on the wall near the middle of the platform.

37th & Spruce Street--SEPTA Emergency Phone near the middle of the westbound platform on the wall and near the middle of the eastbound platform.

• Blue Light Emergency Phone located across the street at the entrance to the Quad. In Dietrich Gardens near the eastbound 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 northbound and southbound 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 watchful, 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, (215) 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 on campus, or call (215) 573-3333 from off campus.

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
University of Pennsylvania Police

(215) 573-3333

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

(215) 590-3480

Philadelphia Poison Control Center

(215) 386-2100

National Poison Control Center

For additional safety tips, contact the Detective Unit at (215) 898-4485, 4040 Chestnut Street. The department is staffed from 8 a.m. to 3 a.m., Monday through Friday. (Emergency victim support services and sensitive crimes reporting is available 24 hours at (215) 898-6600).

For emergencies contact the Penn Police by using the Blue Light Phones or call 511 on campus, or call (215) 573-3333 from off campus.

To contact the Philadelphia Police Department call 911.



  Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 9, October 22, 2002