Better safe than dead.
OK, we made up that last one, but we think it’s catchy. After all, it can be a dangerous world out there if you don’t use a little common sense, and even on a college campus, bad things can happen to good people.
The University of Colorado Police Department (CUPD) offers advice on all types of crime prevention, from theft to assault. Many of these tips are fairly obvious, but all too often ignored.
According to statistics available from the CUPD website, CU saw more than 400 thefts in 2008. Those thefts resulted in nearly $250,000 in losses for the victims. Here is some advice:
Never leave valuables unattended. Ever. You’d be surprised what can happen in “just a few seconds.”
Always lock your door. Really, why not? It takes half a second and keeps you (and your stuff ) that much safer. Get in the habit early and you won’t even have to think about it.
Never prop open exterior doors. You might feel comfortable taking risks with your own personal safety, but when you live in a residence hall, your choices can affect dozens of other people. Are you really willing to put all those other students at risk just because you don’t want to bother swiping your Buff OneCard at the door?
Immediately report anyone trying door handles or entering rooms.
Sure, that person might have a good reason for why they’re going down the hall jiggling door handles. Maybe. Nine times out of 10 though, it’s just what it looks like, and taking two minutes to report it to an RA or the campus police could save someone a lot of hassle and heartache.
Never publish personal data online. Go ahead, post about how tedious your calculus homework is or how great the powder was this weekend, but please, use some discretion. Anything you wouldn’t tell a stranger on the bus probably shouldn’t go up online.
Register laptop computers with police. Both the CUPD and Boulder Police Department have laptop registration programs. While it won’t necessarily prevent theft, registration makes it far more likely you’ll get your stuff back if someone does walk off with it. For more info, visit www.colorado.edu/police/safety/laptopregistration.html.
Register your bike with parking services. Bikes are a common target for thieves, and registering yours with Parking and Transportation Services (www.colorado.edu/pts/) could mean the difference between getting it back and losing it forever. Also, make sure you lock it up properly. Molly Bosley of the CUPD recommends using a solid U-lock instead of a traditional chain lock, since chains are easier to cut. U-locks are a bit pricier, running anywhere from $20 to $40 at most bike shops, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of a new bike.
While losing all your class notes or vacation pictures because someone jacked your laptop is bad enough, CU also sees its share of more serious crimes. In 2009, there were nine cases of forcible rape on or near campus and five aggravated assaults, according to the federally required Clery Report on campus crime statistics.
While that might sound pretty scary, we’re not suggesting you hide under your bed and live in constant fear. Just follow some guidelines and do your best to keep yourself and your friends safe. CUPD has some good advice on this topic, too:
Don’t drink, or at least drink responsibly. Many incidents of violence involve alcohol, either on the part of the perpetrator or the victim. It’s a given that people do stupid things when drunk, and situations can quickly escalate when beer and liquor are involved. Don’t forget, you’re also more vulnerable when you’re trashed.
Don’t leave a friend who has had too much to drink.
These are your friends. Watch their backs for them when they can’t, and they’ll thank you for it in the morning. After the hangover.
At night, travel in well-lit areas. Attackers aren’t like vampires, who fear bright light, but a well-lit area is probably somewhat safer than that unlit, dead-end alley you were thinking about wandering down. Another option is CU’s NightRide program, which provides students with free shuttle service to, from and around campus after dark.
Visit umc.colorado.edu/quicklinks/nightridePurpose.html for more information, or call 303-492-7233.
Do you know the really scary thing about crime statistics? They’re often under-representative of the facts because so many crimes go unreported. You can help change that by taking the time to report any suspicious incidents. You can even remain anonymous.
For emergencies, of course, call 911. For non-emergency incidents, call the CUPD at 303-492-6666. To report crimes anonymously, you can visit www.colorado.edu/police and click on CU Police Anonymous Report or Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers.
For more information on crime statistics and how you can make the campus safer, visit www.colorado. edu/police and click on “Crime Statistics.”