University Police Department promotes safety with week of events Sept. 12-16
Arkansas State’s University Police Chief Randy Martin and his University Police Department marked National Campus Safety Awareness Week with several different events for the campus community Monday-Friday, Sept. 12-16. Topics ranged widely, with Monday introducing the University Police Department with UPD 101, Tuesday highlighting safety on campus, and Wednesday focusing on sexual assault awareness. Thursday targets domestic violence safety, and Friday features presentations on crosswalk safety. The common denominator for all those events, according to University Police Chief Martin, was a desire to inform the campus community about the services and resources the UPD offers to the campus and to educate faculty, staff, and students about campus safety.
In light of concerns about safety in Jonesboro and on the ASU campus, Chief Martin, after consultation with the Jonesboro Police Department, issued this open letter to the campus community.
ASU Campus Community,
The University Police Department has been receiving emails and phone calls from concerned members of the campus in reference to rumors about a rapist on the loose. I want to provide the following information to keep the campus informed and to correct some inaccurate information being passed around on e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.
The Jonesboro Police Department is investigating an incident off campus that involved a home invasion and rape of two individuals. This is not the first incident of this type in the community, and no arrests have been made. The University Police have been monitoring this situation closely, and have offered any assistance we can provide to the Jonesboro Police Department. There have been no reports of any rapes or home invasions on campus this academic year.
The best way to protect yourself from this type of crime is by being aware of your surroundings.
- Keep your residence hall and vehicle doors locked at all times. Do not prop residence hall doors or doors to your room open. This practice allows unwanted persons access to your living areas and invites criminal activity.
- Refrain from using earphones or texting while walking. This distracts your attention and makes you less aware of your surroundings, which makes you an easier victim of crime.
- At night, walk in well-lighted areas and with others if possible. Call the University Police for a safety escort at 870-972-2093 if you are concerned about your safety while crossing campus.
- Keep your cell phone with you at all times, and have it ready to dial the police. Program the University Police Department (870-972-2093) and Jonesboro Police Department (870-935-5553) phone numbers into your phone for quick reference. Remember, you can always dial 911 to get emergency assistance.
- Familiarize yourself with the Emergency Phones throughout campus. Know where the nearest phone is located. Plan your routes on campus to be near the Emergency Phones as you travel.
- Individuals living in campus residential housing or off campus should turn on outdoor lighting and keep window blinds closed. Park your vehicle in a position of easy access, and have your keys ready when you exit your vehicle or home. Keep your cell phone in your hand and ready to dial the police if needed.
- Report any suspicious activity or persons to the police.
If you have questions or concerns about your safety, please contact the University Police at 870-972-2093. You may also email your concerns to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Randy Martin, Chief of Police
Arkansas State University
Chief Martin and his officers believe that the reiteration of the commonsense tips described in this letter will not only correct misinformation, but will actually help keep members of the campus community safe. Martin and his staff, including program director Traci Simpson, also offered active shooter classes at various times throughout the week.
As Martin noted, the most essential part of National Campus Safety Awareness Week is the opportunity for education it offers. Martin said, in a recent article in The Herald, ASU’s student newspaper, “As the campus constituents become more knowledgeable about safety, the campus becomes safer…education about safety reduces the chance of our community members becoming victims, increases overall safety awareness, and will result in a reduction in crime.” He and Simpson agree that the greatest danger for individuals is being inattentive and unaware, according to Holly Ann Bradway of The Herald. (View Bradway’s article online at The Herald of Arkansas State University.
--Holly Ann Bradway, Herald staff writer, contributed to this release.