TCU police warn students to be wary of strangers asking for rides


Junior psychology major Anna Prukop outside of her off-campus apartment. (Photo courtesy of Lana Wynn.)

By Alana Wynn

The TCU Police Department is cautioning students to remember the childhood warning about “stranger danger” after three students reported giving rides to men they didn’t know.

The students, who weren’t harmed, were convinced to let the men in their vehicles, said TCU Police Detective Christine Pratt. As a result, the department has increased its patrols and informed patrol officers of the men who have been approaching students. The incidents happened on the outskirts of campus.

Pratt said one of the women was worried about what was going to end up happening to her and realized the situation she had put herself in once she got the man out of her car.

Pratt added that students should not let any strangers into their cars or offer to take them anywhere, no matter what kind of story the person gives you.

“Students should call TCU police if an encounter with a stranger makes them feel uncomfortable or scared so TCU police can get to the areas surrounding campus quicker,” she said.

There have also been a few instances in which men approached women’s apartments and tried to have conversations with them. This happened separately from the attempts to get rides.

“You don’t have to talk to these people,” Pratt said. “It’s okay to walk away. It’s okay to lock your door. It’s okay to roll up your windows. It’s okay to be distant.”

Last semester, TCU had instances in which students were scammed by men who approached them about buying “gift cards” that turned out to be credit cards. The men convinced the students to drive them to buy phones in exchange for money.

Students realized the phone was charged to their card when they received a bill for several hundred dollars. Pratt said not only did the women lose money, but they allowed the men to get in their cars, which was very dangerous.

Pratt said if someone approaches a student with some wild story that sounds too good to be true, it is.

“We’re just trying to put it out there that we want everyone to really, really think before they do something,” Pratt explained.