U cops offer advice to new students

Tim Sturrock

Every week students, faculty and visitors report thefts of laptops, wallets, purses and bikes to the University police department.

Capt. Steve Johnson said students can be so preoccupied with class and other activities that sometimes they’re not careful.

“Most people, when they’re on campus, are thinking about other things than protecting themselves,” Johnson said. “A typical student’s got a lot on their mind if they’re carrying a full class load.”

Johnson cautions students about leaving their things unattended on campus even if they’ll be gone for few minutes stretching their legs or getting a soda:

“Little do they know that there very well could be someone waiting for them to do just that so they can come and go through their pack.”

Theft, the most commonly reported incident on campus, is usually a crime of opportunity, Johnson said.

He recommends registering bikes, using thick horseshoe locks and riding old bikes worth no more than $150.

“If you’ve got a $2,000 bike that’s got every do-dad you can imagine – don’t bring that to campus,” Johnson said.

Although property crimes outnumber all other crimes, officers receive calls about violence as well.

Johnson said, “If you’re going to go out for the night and you’re going to end up coming home late and you’re walking back, plan to use the escort service or walk back with some friends.”

The Security Monitor Program, which can be reached at 624-WALK, offers a security escort to walk students to and from campus 24 hours a day.

As with many college campuses, alcohol at the University is a concern. Johnson called attention to the fact it impairs judgement and most violent crimes involve alcohol.

“If you are out drinking or you’re planning on going out drinking, you should, at minimum, have somebody as a designated driver or also someone that’s going to keep track of you,” Johnson said.

Above all, Johnson said students should be aware:

“Awareness is the best weapon you can use because it arms you in advance.”