Campus Safety: What you need to know

Date: November 19, 2013

Since the start of the fall semester, campus safety has been on the minds of UW-Madison students, staff, and faculty.  Recent off-campus crimes have gotten lots of attention, and more people are talking about personal safety and what they can do to protect themselves.

First off, some stats: Madison Police tell us from May 1 to September 23, they’ve been involved with 34 robberies  — the same time frame last year saw 26 robberies.  Madison Police say the up-tick is due to a national trend, called “Apple Picking” –  where perpetrators were grabbing phones out of victims’ hands, sometimes knocking them down.

In addition to the “Apple Picking” type crimes, there have also been two armed home invasions in a residential area south of campus — which Madison Police say is very concerning.  In both of those cases, one or two armed men entered a home, and at gunpoint, ordered the occupants to turn over their valuables.  In both cases, the victims were not injured.

UWPD and the City of Madison Police Department have always had a strong working relationship with each other – but we’ve recently strengthened that partnership and worked to provide extra patrols – in cars, on foot, and on bikes — in and around the campus area.  UWPD and other campus safety partners have also joined forces, and taken part in three public outreach efforts — online in person — to take questions from students and parents, and offer safety tips.  They include:

  • Never walk, jog, or bike alone — especially at night.  Use SAFEwalk, a taxi, or public transportation when you can’t find someone to go with you.  If you must walk alone or in a small group, use well-lit, well-known areas.
  • Use common sense and don’t display phones or electronics.
  • Don’t wear headphones, especially at night.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings, and don’t look at your phone while walking.
  • If you’re ever confronted by an individual with a dangerous weapon, give up your property and never resist.
  • Report suspicious behavior or criminal activity to police IMMEDIATELY by calling 911.
  • Be wary of people who don’t appear to belong in the area. If you doubt that they belong in the area, ask them questions. If their answers are vague or suspicious, call the police.

By: Marc Lovicott, UWPD Public Information Officer

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