Safe Keeping

by Nicole Chin '08

For many students, it’s been three months since they last stepped foot on campus. They packed up their memories and drove away to endless visions of summer beach trips and barbecues. Now that it’s time to return to the welcoming arms of roommates and friends, and prepare for the new school year, students will be even more secure on campus.

Each summer, the Department of Campus Safety diligently works to ensure the safety of students. This year is no exception: Chief Jim Holland and company updated the vehicle code for Bowles and University Park (UP); upgraded the Crestview crosswalk with flashing lights; installed a camera for the West Campus Annex; added fiber optic emergency phones for Alosta Place, Bowles, and UP; and began a cadet program. In addition, Campus Safety is initiating new programs for female safety awareness, increasing the effectiveness of their surveillance procedures, color-coding crime statistics for students, adding more bike patrol officers, and updating the emergency information on the back of identification cards.

As these additions prove, Campus Safety continues to relentlessly ensure student safety. This drive can be seen not only through all the improvements they have made this summer, but also with what they do everyday of the year. “Students are the most important people we protect,” said Deputy Chief Anthony Strickland. “But they are not the people we want to discipline.”

Lighten Up, Citrus

Out of all these improvements, Holland wants to especially alert students about the new lights on the Citrus Avenue crosswalk. “We need to make sure that students are aware of these lights and are using them,” he said. Lights on the crosswalk flash when a pedestrian pushes the button. The lights are visible day and night to show oncoming traffic that someone is crossing the street. Tenants of Crestview Apartments will receive a flyer when they first move in about the new addition.

Neighborhood Watch

Beginning this fall, each Campus Safety officer will be assigned a living area where he or she is responsible for working with the resident advisors RAs. According to Holland, residents will receive the direct email address of their officer so they can ask questions about university safety and security. The patrol staff includes five women officers, enough to patrol the “women-only-after-10 p.m.” areas on campus such as Adams Hall and parts of Engstrom and Trinity halls.

Returning students need to be aware that cars are no longer allowed to be parked south of Hollyvale Street. Also, residents are encouraged to lock dorm rooms and apartments when they leave because, according to Holland, 21 laptops were stolen last year, 19 of them from unsecured or unattended rooms.

Knowing of the improvements and new policies will help students take full advantage of every new measure keeping them safe.

Easing Parental Stresses

September signals myriad of changes for many parents as their son or daughter move from home to begin college. One concern of many incoming freshmen and their parents is the West Campus Annex parking plan.

As a current sophomore, I spent many nights my first year out on the curb of the West Campus Annex parking lot waiting for the little white “WC Annex Shuttle.” Sometimes, the van would leave right as I got there, and other times the shuttle would drive up to my car to pick me up. Whatever the case, I can only think of pleasant memories formed out there, my own safety and security never crossing my mind. A Campus Safety patrol car could always be found on the outskirts of the lot.

Campus Safety discourages freshmen from bringing their cars to school their first year because they are not allowed to park on East Campus near their residence halls. However, should a student chose to bring his or her car, parking on campus is allowed after 5 p.m. on weekdays and on Fridays for weekends. Cars need to be moved by 7 a.m. the following day, excluding Saturday and Sunday.

To assist student parking in the Annex, a shuttle runs to and from East Campus until 2 a.m. After that time, students should call Campus Safety for an escort. Campus Safety is continually increasing the security of the Annex, including installations of a surveillance camera that monitors the area.

Making a Home at APU

Other concerns of parents include the safety of dorm buildings. School I.D. cards are needed to enter any floor before 12 p.m. and after 10 p.m. each weekday, and after 12 p.m. on weekends. Also, the RA on duty monitor dorm buildings from 7-12 p.m. every night.

Thanks to the Clery Act, Campus Safety is required to report any and every incident that occurs on and around campus. For more information on the Clery Act, read the Around Campus article, “Serving the Students”.

Quick Tips

Many incoming students are anxiously awaiting Orientation, anticipating making new friends and taking the responsibility of living on their own. What many students may not realize is that responsibility goes beyond their dorm room, and in everything they do, especially when it comes to their safety and security.

Here are some ways to stay safe at APU:

  • Freshmen are discouraged from bringing their cars because of the West Campus Annex parking situation. “Students need to take the responsibility of parking where they are supposed to,” said Strickland. “Unfortunately, we can’t offer more parking spaces.”

  • Utilize the Campus Safety website. The vehicle code, a silent informant form, and any APU crime statistics can be found here.

  • Attend the mandatory safety meeting.

  • Keep your doors locked whenever you leave your residence hall or apartment, and close gates leading to living areas. “The community needs to help us prevent crime,” said Strickland.

  • Write down the serial number to any expensive electronics: laptops, iPods, digital cameras, etc.

  • If you get a parking ticket, the first offense is a $10 ticket. Every following offense will be raised by $10. By the fourth offense, the price of the ticket will double and your car will be towed. The Campus Safety website has additional information on parking regulations.

  • Prank fire alarms are a federal offense, and if a student is caught, he or she will be arrested for a misdemeanor.

  • The shuttle for the West Campus Annex to East Campus and back runs until 2 a.m. After 2 a.m., students can call Campus Safety for an escort back to their dorms. More information.

  • The blue emergency lights: When the button is pressed, an automatic call is placed to the Campus Safety dispatcher and a camera zooms in on the zone. A blue light is then turned on, alerting an emergency, and the dispatcher can immediately respond, knowing which blue light was activated. On both East and West Campus, 12 blue lights are in existence today, with more to be added.