University police officer discusses campus safety precautions

Hilltop Views asked University Police Officer Alice Gilroy to comment on the current state of campus security.

The recent uptick in reports of bike thefts and thefts from residential rooms and academic buildings is a sign of the growth of a city, economic conditions, the holiday season, and a lack of personal responsibility.

We cannot do anything about our city growing, the theft for Christmas money, or economic hardships, but we can take more personal responsibility in how we protect ourselves.

When students move on campus they leave the safety and security of their homes and the watchful protection of their parents. They have grown up with an adult making sure the doors are locked, the bike is in the garage, the car is locked, and someone knows where they are and when they will be home. They have grown up with friends their parents probably approved of beforehand.

Their parents have kept out unwanted intruders and taken care of solicitors and scam artists. These young people come to school wanting to make their own adult decisions, but without practice they often become victims to criminals who have years of experience.

Young people who have never lived alone may become too trusting  because of the safety net they have become accustomed to. So they leave their residence doors unlocked, allow people to follow them in to the residence halls without question or walk alone at night.

Because they are making new friends, sometimes they do not have enough time to make good judgments on the character of the person they are partying with. Because they want to be adults and experiment with excessive drinking, they often find themselves in dangerous situations around people they should not trust.

Making yourself safe is not necessarily convenient or fun.

While they never would have considered allowing strangers to walk into their house, now these young people are allowing strangers to stay in their rooms as unreported guests. 

They sleep with their doors open and are surprised to awaken to someone standing over them. They leave money, wallets, and computers unsecured in rooms, or unattended in academic buildings, and are surprised when their property is stolen.

Learning personal responsibility is just part of growing up and leaving home. Unfortunately, it can be a painful experience. UPD deals with a lot of victims who are embarrassed and blame themselves for what has happened. 

They do not want to tell us their computer was stolen because they left their room unlocked while they were at the laundry, in the shower, or sleeping. 

I want to make sure that everyone understands that why it is important to take steps to protect yourself, becoming a victim was not your fault. The personal responsibility of the crime rests solely with the criminal.