Violent or Criminal Behavior

Everyone is asked to assist in making the campus and our community a safe place by being alert to suspicious situations and promptly reporting them. If you are a victim or a witness to any offense, avoid risks and contact the police immediately by dialing 911, or (603) 536-1626. Report the incident, including the following:

  • Nature of the incident.
  • Location of the incident.
  • Description of person(s) involved.
  • Description of property involved.

If you observe a criminal act or a suspicious person, immediately report the incident to police. Assist the officers when they arrive by supplying them with all available information and ask others to cooperate. After the disturbance, seek emergency first aid if necessary.

What to Do If Taken Hostage:

  • Be patient and calm. Time is on your side. Don’t threaten or intimidate your captor. Avoid drastic action.
  • Before you say or do anything, consider the threat to yourself and others that are involved.
  • If necessary to speak, ask for permission first. Don’t talk down to the captor who may be in an agitated state. Avoid appearing hostile. Maintain eye contact with the captor at all times if possible, but do not stare.
  • If medications, first aid, or restroom privileges are needed by anyone, calmly say so. The captor in all probability does not want to inflict harm. Such direct action further implicates him/her in additional offenses.
  • Be observant. When you are released, the personal safety of others may depend on what you remember about the situation and are able to communicate.

Psychological Crisis

A psychological crisis exists when an individual is threatening harm to himself/herself or to others, or is out of touch with reality due to severe drug reactions or a psychotic episode.

  • Never try to handle a situation you feel is dangerous. Don’t endanger your safety.
  • Notify University Police immediately at 911. Clearly state that you need immediate assistance. Give your name, location, and briefly describe the nature of the situation.
  • Should the situation warrant such action, the police will notify PSU Counseling Center personnel.

Active Shooter:

Recent headlines and events around the country have heightened everyone’s concern about safety in the event of an active shooter on the campus. University Police has provided the following information on what you should do in case such an event happens at PSU based on the principles of Avoid, Deny, and Defend.

Active Shooter Response Plan

An Active Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearm(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.

Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims.

Both the University and Plymouth Police are trained and equipped to respond to active shooter events and conduct combined training exercises.

In the event of an active shooter event, the outdoor emergency siren will sound and you will received emergency text alerts to advise you of the dangers.

To sign up for emergency text alerts please visit:

Because active shooter situations are often over within minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.

Good practices for coping with an active shooter situation:

  • Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers
  • Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit
  • If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door
  • If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door
  • As a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her.

Three steps to survive active shooter events:


  • Run away, leave the area and escape as soon as possible
  • Have an escape route or plan in mind, know where exit are located
  • Visitors will follow the example of faculty, staff and students.
  • If possible, help others escape.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Remain calm and follow officers’ instructions.
  • Keep your hands raised and keep them visible at all times.
  • Avoid making sudden moves or grabbing the police officers.
  • Do not stop the officer and ask for assistance, other emergency personnel following on will assist you.
  • Provide the police with the location, number and description of shooter(s).


  • If an evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.
  • Lock and barricade the doors by moving heavy objects, such as desks, or cabinets in front of the door.
  • Move away from all windows and pull any blinds or shades, turn off lights
  • Hide behind something substantial.
  • Remain quiet and calm, stay out of sight
  • Silence all cellphones, radios and televisions.
  • Dial 911, if possible to alert police to the active shooter’s location.
  • If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen.


  • Only when your life is in imminent danger, and you cannot run away or hide, taking action is the last resort if there is no other option
  • Do not be afraid to fight.
  • Act aggressively as possible against the shooter.
  • Use common items as weapons, such as chairs, books, fire extinguishers or other heavy items. Inflict injury, grab weapon
  • Use numbers to overwhelm/swarm the attacker. There is strength when you work together.
  • Playing dead is not an effective plan


If activity is outside your building:

  • Proceed to a room that can be locked. Close and lock all the windows and doors, and turn off all the lights.
  • If possible, get everyone down on the floor and ensure that no one is visible from outside the room. You may need to cover windows with paper or clothing to block the view into the room.
  • One person in the room should call 911, advise the dispatcher of what is taking place, and inform him/her of your location.
  • Remain in place until the police, or a campus administrator known to you, gives the “all clear.” Unfamiliar voices may be the criminal attempting to lure victims from their safe space; do not respond to any voice commands until you can verify with certainty that they are being issued by a police officer.

If shooter is in the same building you are:

  • Determine if the room you are in can be locked and if so, follow the same procedure described in the previous paragraph.
  • If your room can’t be locked, determine if there is a nearby location that can be reached safely and secured, or if you can safely exit the building.
  • If you decide to move from your current location, be sure to follow the instructions outlined below.

If shooter enters your office or classroom:

  • Try to remain calm. Dial 911, if possible, and alert police to their location; if you can’t speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can listen to what’s taking place. Normally the location of a 911 call can be determined without speaking.
  • If there is absolutely no opportunity to avoid the shooter or deny the shooter access to your workspace, it may be required that you defend yourself against the shooter.
  • If the shooter leaves the area, proceed immediately to a safer place and do not touch anything that was in the vicinity of the shooter.

No matter what the circumstances, if you decide to flee during an active shooting situation, make sure you have an escape route and plan in mind. Do not attempt to carry anything while fleeing; move quickly, keep your hands visible, and follow the instructions of any police officers you may encounter. Do not attempt to remove injured people; instead, leave wounded victims where they are and notify authorities of their location as soon as possible.

The above information is appropriate for any large-scale violent act. When escaping a violent scene, always keep your hands visible and follow the instructions of police officers, no matter what the situation.

Safety and Prevention Tips

At Home Tip #8

If you are receiving threatening or obscene phone calls contact the Police.