Beefing up your department’s security can be simple
A series of break-ins to campus buildings resulting in theft and vandalism has shown the need for faculty and staff members to be alert.
Among the buildings targeted by vandals or thieves in the last two months are the Alice Campbell Alumni Center and the Armory.
Theft is the No. 1 crime on campus, said Jeff Christensen, deputy chief of police in the Division of Public Safety.
Securing your space
Jeff Christensen, deputy chief of police in the Division of Public Safety, offers the following tips for offices to follow to make sure their spaces are secure.
Take advantage of security consultations offered by the UI Police.
Make sure valuables are never left in the open.
Secure personal belongings and never leave items such as purses or wallets unattended.
Make sure you know who has keys to your office at all times.
Take inventories of office equipment and electronics regularly.
Make sure any cash kept in the office is kept in a secure place.
Make sure there are plans in place to deal with threatening or suspicious people.
To prevent such crimes, the best thing units can do is what police call “target hardening,” or taking precautionary measures to ensure their offices won’t be targets.
All units are responsible for making offices secure, but the degree to which alarms, security cameras and other security measures are implemented is up to individual department and unit leaders, Christensen said.
Sometimes beefing up security measures can be as simple as locking doors, making sure windows are shut and securing anything valuable – like cash, computers or equipment.
UI Police also are on hand to assist any unit with a security consultation, Christensen said.
Three principles must be in place in order for crime to occur, Christensen said: the ability of someone to commit a crime, the desire to do it and the opportunity to do it.
Only the third principle can be controlled, he said.
Although building break-ins usually occur when no one is around, thefts on campus do occur during the day or evening when witnesses are around. Any time people notice anything that seems out of place or are wary of suspicious-looking individuals, they should call 911, Christensen said.
Many people think 911 is only for serious emergencies, but the service is meant to be used any time an officer is needed. And if something doesn’t feel right, people shouldn’t hesitate to call, Christensen said.
In addition to the break-ins, theft of unattended electronics – especially computers, has continued. Other items that are frequently stolen include cell phones, purses, wallets, iPods and MP3 players.
The areas where theft rates are highest are the Activities and Recreation Center, the Illini Union and campus libraries.
If people see someone acting suspiciously – looking in cars, scoping out bike racks or acting in any other way that seems out of the ordinary – they should not hesitate to call 911, he said.
To prevent someone from taking your things, the best thing to do is take away the opportunity – don’t leave personal belongings unattended, he said.
A new trend in computer theft has individuals grabbing computers while someone is working on them, he said.
The UI police often do catch the people who commit these crimes, but the investigative process depends on a number of variables, including how easily stolen items can be tracked and how much people witnessed.