Usually when crimes occur, the advice that follows has been ignored.
You are the key to your personal safety and the safety of others. By following the advice and instructions in this column most crimes and serious fires can be avoided.
Please give this information serious consideration. Even if you are not concerned about your personal safety, it is critical that you behave in ways that do not endanger the safety of others, either on campus or in your off-campus residence.
Your suggestions related to safety are welcomed by the University Police Department.
KEEPING YOURSELF SAFE
The safety of members of the college community is of vital concern to the University Police Department. While Oneonta is a relatively safe place, crimes do occur both on and off campus. Students must actively accept responsibility for doing their part to maintain a safe environment. A variety of security measures are employed in the college's residence halls. These include a 24-hour locked door policy, key access systems, a phone system and a Night Host program for monitoring student safety within the residence halls at night. Security systems at off-campus residences which are not owned by the college vary considerably. Be sure to obtain complete information from the landlord concerning locking systems, fire detection and/or suppression systems, and any other security services which may be available. For security systems to be effective, the cooperation of all students is necessary. Although some students initially find using a phone inconvenient when visiting a campus residence hall, the added security is well worth it. Here are some steps you can take to keep yourself as safe as possible, both in your off-campus residence and when you are on campus.
KNOW THE RESIDENCE HALL SECURITY POLICY. If you take any action that could undermine the security of a residence hall or its occupants, you will be violating college policy and may be banned from the residence hall system. Security violations include, but are not limited to, borrowing keys, allowing other persons who are not the specifically invited guests of a resident to enter a residence hall, propping doors open, committing acts of vandalism which jeopardize building security and tampering with security devices.
DO NOT PROP DOORS OPEN. Propped doors are an open invitation to unauthorized persons, some of whom may enter buildings for the purpose of committing crimes. If you see a propped door anywhere on campus, close it.
NEVER GIVE OUT THE CODE ACCESS NUMBER FOR YOUR DOOR OR LEND YOUR KEY OR IDENTIFICATION CARD TO ANYONE ELSE. Non-students, even your friends, may lack concern for the security of the campus.
LOCK THE DOOR TO YOUR RESIDENCE HALL ROOM AT ALL TIMES. Locking your door, wherever you reside, is an effective way to reduce theft and enhance personal safety.
BE CAREFUL ABOUT LEAVING WINDOWS OPEN IN FIRST FLOOR RESIDENCE. Theft can occur through open windows. Balcony doors on upper floors should also be secured. Before leaving for breaks, make sure that all windows are closed and locked.
REPORT ALL SECURITY-RELATED MAINTENANCE PROBLEMS. Locks, doors, windows, and lights that are in need of repair or replacement or shrubbery in need of trimming should be reported to your Residence Hall Director or RA immediately. If you should notice any such security-related maintenance problems while on campus, call University Police at 436-3550, on campus x3550.
CONTACT THE APPROPRIATE LOCAL POLICE AGENCY (ON CAMPUS CALL UNIVERSITY POLICE X3550) IF YOU RECEIVE AN OBSCENE OR HARASSING PHONE CALL. Harassing calls should be reported immediately. The police will investigate these incidents and, as patterns develop, work closely with the telephone company to apprehend offenders.
ATTEND SECURITY PROGRAMS. Learn more about protecting yourself. University Police conducts frequent programs which promote crime-resistance skills. For information on specific topics, call University Police at 436-3550.
BE AWARE OF CAMPUS CRIME TRENDS. Read and make note of any offenses which have been reported on campus or in the vicinity of your residence.
REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY TO THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY. If you are on campus, use one of the "BLUE LIGHT" emergency telephones to contact University Police or call x3550. If you are off campus, call the local police. Individuals who do not have legitimate reasons for being on campus or in a college building and who refuse to comply with a request to leave may be subject to arrest under the criminal trespass penal code of New York State.
SECURITY AROUND CAMPUS
BE ALERT. Your safety depends mostly on your own attitude and actions.
AVOID WALKING ALONE AT NIGHT. If you have a night class, make arrangements to walk back and forthwith several other class members or with fellow residents who may have classes in nearby buildings. Use the bus whenever possible. The bus runs Sunday through Wednesday until 12:15AM, Thursday until 2AM and Friday and Saturday until 3:30AM. Service is provided to many off-campus areas where students reside. For a current schedule, contact OPT at 432-7100.If you absolutely must travel alone at night, be sure to stay on well-traveled and well-lit paths and sidewalks. The campus has installed emergency telephones to provide rapid communication to University Police. Outdoor telephones have blue lights above them. If you need assistance or wish to report a crime, simply use the device.
PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL PROPERTY. The University Police Department provides engraving equipment to identify your valuables. You may call x3550 to arrange to borrow an engraver. In addition, you should make a record of any valuable property which has unique serial numbers, such as computer, stereo or television equipment. Marking and recording your property in this way will aid in recovery in case of loss or theft. University Police can advise you on securing your bike and will help you select a sturdy lock. Bikes properly secured with good locks are rarely stolen. Park your car in a well lit area and keep it locked at all times. Don't leave valuables where they can be seen in your vehicle; lock them in your trunk. The college assumes no responsibility for loss of or damage to personal property.
REPORT CRIME. Report any on-campus criminal act to University Police immediately at x3550. The University Police officers are law enforcement officers of the State of New York and have full investigative and arrest authority on the campus and contiguous streets and highways. They work closely with federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies. All crimes reported to University Police are documented and crime statistics are submitted to the FBI. These crime statistics along with a three-year summary of selected arrest statistics are included in the menu. Timely notice of crimes which may be of interest to the members of the college community is provided through the college news releases and Crime Alerts. This information is intended to aid in the prevention of similar occurrences and to reinforce the fact that students must assume the responsibility for their own security and the security of others. Victims of sexual crimes can receive confidential assistance from Counseling/Health/Wellness Center. Please be aware that many sexual assaults/rapes involving college students are "acquaintance rapes" or "date rapes." Victims of on-campus crimes have the right to choose counseling, medical treatment, prosecution and reporting of their case, through the college judicial system and/or the off campus court system, as well as the right to refuse all of the above without reproach from any college personnel. For more information see Campus Sexual Assault Programs (Procedures &Policies).
VISITING CAMPUS RESIDENCE HALLS
Campus residence halls are locked 24 hours per day and may be entered only by residents of the hall, college officials, and guests who have specific, legitimate reason for their presence in the building.
USE OF RESIDENCE HALLS BY GUESTS
The following policies apply to guests who visit students living in residence halls:
A. A standard 24-hour visitation policy is followed in all halls.
B. A guest is one who comes to a residence hall to visit a specific resident upon the request of that resident. Guests may also be persons who are invited by the hall government or college officials for a specific event taking place in that residence hall. Any student from outside the resident hall is considered to be a guest.
C. A guest is limited to the time and location for which he or she was invited. When visiting a specific resident, a guest must be accompanied by that resident during the entire period of time he or she is in the residence hall. The resident is responsible for the conduct of his or her guest.
D. Residents are responsible for completing a "Guest Registration Form" and familiarizing their guests with pertinent college rules and regulations and for insuring that their guests abide by these policies. All roommates must agree to having a guest and must sign the registration form indicating agreement. Residents who fail to control the behavior of their guests may be subject to disciplinary action.
E. Residents are responsible for ensuring that their guests use only restroom facilities that have been designated for members of the guests' sex.
F. Residents may have overnight guests of the same sex for a period of time not to exceed two consecutive nights without permission from the Resident Hall Director. Guests may not exceed the two-night limit by changing hosts to prolong their stay. The current host will be responsible for the guest whose stay has been prolonged.
G. Guests are not permitted to stay in the residence hall lounges, recreation rooms or other public areas of the campus.
H. It is the responsibility of the host to insure that the presence or behavior of guests does not infringe upon the rights of his or her roommate or other residents.
GUEST PHONE USE
To visit friends in residence halls, you must make use of a foyer phone panel to gain access to the buildings since all of them are locked 24 hours per day. You will need to know the room number of the friends you wish to visit in order to call them from the phone panel. To reach your friend inside the hall:
LOCATE THE PHONE PANEL OUTSIDE THE BUILDING OR IN THE LOBBY.
KNOW THE RESIDENT'S PHONE NUMBER.
THE PHONE WILL RING IN YOUR FRIEND'S ROOM.
WHEN IT IS ANSWERED YOU MAY COMMUNICATE THROUGH THE INTERCOM GRILL.
If you should discover or suspect a fire in a college building:
A. Activate the building fire alarm by using a corridor pull station. If you cannot activate the alarm, warn other people by knocking on doors and shouting a warning. DO NOT ENDANGER YOURSELF.
B. Call UNIVERSITY POLICE at 3550 or 911 from a phone or from a campus emergency phone.
C. Leave the building immediately. Move away from the building at least 200 feet, clear the driveways, sidewalks and access to the building. When the firefighters arrive, direct them to the fire.
D. Report ALL fires, even small ones you have extinguished. University Police must still file a report.
When you hear a fire alarm:
A. Never assume that it is a false alarm.
B. Leave the building immediately when a fire alarm sounds. Failure to do so is grounds for college disciplinary action and may lead to personal injury.
C. Never re-enter the building until a college official indicates it is time to do so.
BUILDING FIRE SAFETY FEATURES
Smoke/heat detectors have been installed in campus buildings. The fire alarm systems are electronically supervised. University Police personnel will respond to fire alarms.
Sprinkler systems have been installed in some appropriate areas. Do not tamper with sprinkler heads.
Stairway doors should close automatically and must be kept closed at all times. Never prop these doors open. Stairways can act as chimneys and spread fire and smoke throughout the building, if the doors to them are open. If the doors are kept closed, the stairways will provide a place of refuge and will protect you while you escape from the building. It is especially important to make sure that residence hall stairway doors are kept closed at night, when people are asleep and detection of a fire may be delayed.
Exit signs clearly mark each exit area. Self-reflecting exit signs have been installed on all exterior corridor doors.
Fire extinguishers should be used only after you sound the alarm and call for emergency assistance. Use the extinguisher only if you need it to assist your safe evacuation. Don't expose yourself to heavy smoke, as the toxic gases from smoke can render you unconscious in a few seconds. The contents of extinguishers are expended in seconds - if at first you don't succeed, leave. Be sure an alarm has been sounded.
PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY
Report immediately to University Police at x3550 any defective or missing campus fire protection and safety equipment or any fire extinguisher which has been discharged.
Refuse to abuse fire alarm systems and report anyone who does. False alarms create a complacent attitude about the alarm system which can result in injury or loss of life in a real fire. The best defense against childish, irresponsible false alarms is to immediately report any such activity which you may witness to University Police at x3550.
The University Police Department provides escort services from dusk to dawn for the safety of anyone walking alone on the campus at night. Call 436-3550 for an escort to or from any campus building or parking lot.