Any one of us could be the victim of a crime at any time and in any place.
We also can be the best crime-preventers, says UAB Police Department Capt. Roderick Wilkins. That's the central message of the new UAB Police program S.W.E.E.P. - Security, Watchfulness, Education, Encouragement and Preparation.
|UAB Police Capt. Roderick Wilkins says in many ways we are the best crime preventers. That’s the central message of the department’s new program S.W.E.E.P. — Security, Watchfulness, Education, Encouragement and Preparation.
Wilkins says statistics show that UAB is one of the safest campuses in the state and the country, and that is due in large part to the employees and students who take precautionary steps and watch out for one another. "Our campus community does an excellent job," he says. "We want them to know we're here for them.
"We're reaching out to faculty, staff and students to remind them to be vigilant," Wilkins says. "We want to reduce the easily preventable thefts that take place in the medical center and on campus. S.W.E.E.P. is a reminder to take responsibility for our areas, watch for any unusual or suspicious activity and report it to 934-4434."
The department encourages the campus community especially to be mindful of personal belongings in high-traffic areas. The current economic climate will make some more desperate than they normally might be, Wilkins says.
"The opportunity for theft increases as we become complacent in our environments," Wilkins says. "We want to get out and be proactive in our community-policing efforts and make people aware these types of incidents are possible if they aren't mindful of their surroundings."
What can you do to secure your work and school areas?
- Lock office doors when exiting
- Place personal items in a hidden or secure location
- Secure laptops, cell phones, iPods and money before leaving
- Keep an inventory of office equipment assigned to you and ensure it is properly marked.
"Unlocked doors create an opportunity for people to take something when they're passing by," Wilkins says. "Thieves wait for us to become complacent and not practice safety by locking doors and securing personal items."
Be aware of unauthorized or unfamiliar people in your work area. If you work in a customer-service area, take a visual inventory of the person. If you see something suspicious, report it.
"If someone without an ID is in an authorized area, the police department needs to know so we can check them out," Wilkins says. "It could be an employee who forgot their ID, but it lets us know people are being vigilant."
Learn the safest route to your destinations and be aware of your surroundings. If you see suspicious people or cars, contact the police at 934-4434.
"Know what to do should an incident occur," Wilkins says, "and look for the emergency Help phones located along the routes you travel."
Promote accountability in your work area and remind co-workers to practice preventive measures to safeguard personal and business property.
Keep a short list of numbers to call in case of an on campus or hospital emergency near your office phone. Consider programming the UAB police phone number, 934-4434, and emergency number, 934-3535, in your cell phone.
UAB also can prepare you as an individual to protect yourself several ways. UAB Police offers a Rape Aggression Defense program for women - a self-defense and awareness-training program - as a free service to female population of the UAB community.
The Campus Watch program provides the latest safety literature available through police department.
For more on UAB Police Department programs, visit www.uab.edu/police. The site also contains a link to the annual UAB Crime Report and Statistics.