Students play vital role in campus safety

Following the shooting in the parking lot of T-Dubs last week, Chief of Police Ronald Trepkowski assures students campus is as safe and secure as ever.

“It’s been a typical fall,” he said. “We’ve had our share of incidents and roommate disputes but, all in all, we’ve had a pretty good start.”

Trepkowski said SVSU’s campus sees very little serious crime.

“We’ve only had one shooting on campus since I’ve been here, and it was only shots in the air,” he said.

Friday, Sept. 26 in the T-Dubs parking lot, a man was arrested for assault and firing a handgun in the air.

While serious, the T-Dubs incident was resolved quickly; two men were arrested a few minutes after the event.

J.J. Boehm, director of Media and Community Relations, met with the owners of T-Dubs to discuss the situation.

“They really do want to be good neighbors,” he said. “They understand how important safety is to clientele and the SVSU student community.”

Trepkowski explained how isolated the  incident was, especially this far from the city of Saginaw.

“This doesn’t happen a lot here, but it is still always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings,” he said.

Outside of that incident, Trepkowski said this fall semester is shaping up to be relatively typical; University Police hasn’t seen any significant increase in crime on campus.

“Historically, our chief challenge on campus has been theft,” Boehm added. “We are always encouraging students to take simple precautions to lock doors and (to not) leave their backpacks around.”

Trepkowski agreed and emphasized that even among these thefts, most aren’t burglaries or doors being broken down.

Most involve unlocked dorms and cars or backpacks left around campus without an owner.

“You can leave your backpack out 19 times and it will probably still be there … But then the twentieth time, it could be gone,” Trepkowski said. “And you just don’t know if it will be the twentieth time or the first time.”

Trepkowski is part of the Michigan Association of Campus Law Enforcement, and he frequently sees other campuses having the same issues with theft and possessions being left exposed.

“The bigger campuses see higher numbers of these crimes, but that’s just because they are bigger,” he said. “Looking at our sister schools of Grand Valley and Ferris, we deal with the typical problems.”

Police officers have several systems in place to safeguard the campus, but they continually stress that students need to be aware for themselves.

“We have a safe campus, but we aren’t a sanctuary,” Trepkowski said. “Things can still happen, so you need to know who to call or where to go if something does happen.”

To help students be aware, University Police also abides by the federal Clery Act, which requires all colleges and universities receiving federal financial aid to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their campuses.

According to Boehm, this requires University Police to inform students about situations if they pose a clear and present danger to the community.

However, he tries to go beyond that and make sure students always have the information they need.

“We always think about what and how to notify students so we can dispel false rumors and reassure students,” Boehm said. “It’s never (going to be) be perfect, but there are lots of different layers of communication in place.”

These notifications include emails, text and voicemails messages that students can sign up for, and even information on Twitter and Facebook.

But regardless of any update or technological advancement, Trepkowski emphasized the importance of the students’ own instincts.

“It doesn’t take long to figure out the routine here and you can tell is something’s off,” he said. “Everyone has a radar, so pay attention to it. If it’s no big deal, then there’s no problem. Don’t be afraid to give us a call.”

This entry was posted on Monday, October 6th, 2014 and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed.