Column - Help the community improve through crime prevention
Published: Monday, October 31, 2011
Updated: Monday, October 31, 2011 23:10
In keeping with the University Police Department's philosophy, we want to encourage everyone to take an active approach to crime prevention. Unfortunately, many people simply choose not to embrace the concept of crime prevention, or simply do not believe they could become a victim of crime.
Everyone – regardless of who they are – can become a victim of crime. You must not let yourself be an easy target for criminals.
So what can you do?
The first step is to accept responsibility that crime prevention is not just the job of law enforcement – it's the job of every community member.
This means that every person is responsible for reporting suspicious activity and for taking measures to protect themselves.
Too often we find people who don't even take simple precautions, such as locking their doors.
The next step is to take the time to get to know your police department and its officers.
Did you know that the UPD has free self-defense classes for females called PROTECT, and we will assist you with protecting your valuables with a program called Operation ID?
The department has many other free programs and an arsenal of information at its disposal for people to use. Additionally, most people don't take the time to talk to their police officers.
Officers are not mean people, and although sometimes we may be busy, we always enjoy meeting and interacting with members of our community.
Another important issue with crime prevention is crime reporting.
Accurate crime reporting assists us in determining how to combat and prevent future crimes, but most people choose not to file police reports after they fall victim to a crime.
Not only are the crime statistics an important issue, but by filing a police report – especially in a timely manner – you may actually be able to assist the police in apprehending someone who has possibly victimized or will victimize other people.
Also, most people don't realize there is a plethora of resources available to victims of crime, including financial assistance for medical bills or assistance in obtaining counseling if needed.
We did our part – now we need you to help! The law enforcement community cannot successfully combat crime without you, but together the possibilities of what can be done – through strong partnerships and teamwork – is limitless.
Don't allow crime to occur in our community.
You can start by following these tips:
Be aware of your surroundings and report crimes in progress or suspicious activity by calling 911 or 304-293-COPS.
Lock your dorm/residence door at all times, even when you are in your room or only away for a moment.
Lock your vehicle at all times, even while you are driving, but especially when you leave it parked. Do not leave valuables (GPS systems, DVD players, etc.) in plain sight.
Travel in well-lit areas with groups of friends.
Write down the serial number of all electronics /valuables and store it in a safe place. Participate in OPERATION ID.
Be aware of the criminal activity in your community by keeping up with crime stats (available on the police department's website).
Don't engage other people in physical or verbal confrontations unless you are unable to get away. You should first try to escape from the situation.
Use common courtesy as it eases tension in situations that have the potential to turn violent. If you see a fight developing, call 911.
Report safety hazards (overgrown bushes) or inadequate lighting to campus police or Facilities Management.
Do not flash large amounts of cash, and do not allow people to hover around you at the ATM.
Do not give out personal information over the phone or on unsecured internet sites.
Visit the UPD Website (http://www.police.wvu.edu) to educate yourself on what the police department has to offer.
What is suspicious activity?
Anyone forcibly entering a car, home or building.
Someone hiding in the bushes as people or cars pass by.
Someone running from a home or business under unusual circumstances.
Someone carrying a weapon while on campus or in an inappropriate manner off campus.
Anyone ringing your doorbell or knocking on your door without a reasonable explanation for doing so.
Strange vehicles parked in your area.
A clean vehicle with dirty or damaged plates.
Any activity or event you observe that makes you feel uncomfortable is suspicious!
Always obey your intuitive sense when something is suspicious. If you are not sure about calling law enforcement, call anyway – we would rather be called and not be needed than needed and not be called.