I wrote yesterday about the issue of crimes being perpetrated on or near college campuses (sometimes by college students themselves), and how prevention starts with an understanding of what crime is perpetrated and where.
Today, I see a headline in the Observer-Reporter newspaper in Washington, Pennsylvania, detailing an alleged home invasion and robbery of a student rental apartment.
While police are still searching for the suspects, three suspects – one of whom was brandishing a pistol – the most interesting part of the story to me was the fact that the incident prompted community alerts.
Both the California Borough Police Department and California University of Pennsylvania Police Department have apps that community members can use to get up-to-date details on incidents and emergencies.
In the case of Thursday’s home invasion, both apps issued emergency alerts telling students to stay indoors.
But that’s not the only resource for students and community members who want to understand what crimes are happening on the California University of Pennsylvania campus.
For those interested, the California University Police Department’s web page contains myriad resources, such as videos and evacuation procedures for people with disabilities.
Among them is information on how to report an emergency, in the top right corner of the page, and a link to report crime anonymously a little further down on the same side.
For those who attend or work on campus, it should also be noted that the Cal U Police Department page also includes a password and username protected link to sign up for the campus emergency alert system.
The webpage also includes periodic safety announcements, tips on how to stay safe on campus, and a link to various crime and fire reports, although there appears to be no online police blotter – which is something that West Virginia University offers on its website, for example. To view the crime log at California University, you must visit the police department’s headquarters.
In addition to all this, the webpage gives a description of the duties of the police department at the top of the page, assurance that they are on duty twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and that they have full police authority.
The page includes a letter from the police chief with updates on the current campus safety situation, and safety tips pertinent to the season (summer break, back-to-school, holiday breaks, etc.) This section includes everything from ensuring your apartment is secure to hiding your valuables when you park.
The University Police Department is located in the Pollock Building.
I laud both the police department and the university for their application of technology to help keep its communities informed about the very serious subject of crime in and on college campuses. Their number one priority, after providing a quality education, is keeping students and staff safe, and they have found a way to do that well. And, in case of any sort of unfortunate incidents, they should contact a reputable Pittsburgh Criminal Lawyer immediately.
In this day and age, school safety is a concern at every level, from pre-kindergarten and day care centers to universities. I’m sure many of us remember the days before alerts became the norm. We sent our kids to school or college and hoped they’d come home in the same condition they left in. Of course, decades ago, school shootings were unheard of, but in the last twenty years, those incidences have risen, or at least been reported more often. And at the college level, crime in housing units would probably not have made the news.
People decry the rise of cell phone usage, especially smartphones, but the small devices proved invaluable in this case. Who knows what the three thieves would have done had they come across someone else after they’d robbed the apartment?