Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Public Safety: Meet our Director and How to Report a Crime

Reporting a Crime to Public Safety: A How-To Guide

Most of this information was taken from the new DePaul Public Safety Web site, http://publicsafety.depaul.edu/index.asp. The main way to report a crime on any of DePaul's campuses is to call, which will put you in touch with Public Safety officers that can help you. The Public Safety offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Of course, you can also call 911 to report emergencies. So, your first step would be to call. The number you call depends on where you are.

Here are the main numbers for the Public Safety departments:

Lincoln Park: (773)325-7777
Loop: (312) 362-8400
Oak Forest: (708) 614-4807
Grayslake: (847) 665-4000

The Naperville, O'Hare and Rolling Meadows campuses only have non-emergency numbers listed for their police and fire departments. Why a need for the police or fire department would not be an emergency, I have no idea. Anyways, those numbers are:

Naperville: (630) 420-6666 (police) and (630) 420-6142 (fire)
Rolling Meadows: (847) 255-2416 (police) and (847)397-3352 (fire)
O'Hare: (847) 391-5400 (police) and (847) 391-5333 (fire)

If you don't have a cell phone with you when a crime occurs, you can also run to one of the blue emergency light stations around campus - hitting the button on those lights connects you to the office, and from there, an officer will communicate by phone. After you've reached an officer, explain where you are and what's happening, and an officer or member of the Chicago Police department will be dispatched to help you. Last year, the record for a Public Safety officer reaching the scene of a crime was "in under five minutes," a figure Bob Wachowski gave in an interview that I conducted for The DePaulia last year.

Meet your friendly neighborhood public safety director
Welcome to the DePaul Crimes on Campus blog. I hope this is a place where you come often to find the latest crime news and information. In the coming weeks, I will give you safety tips, tell you about the different features of DePaul's Public Safety Web site, keep you updated on crime happenings and statistics on campus, and introduce you to some of the key faces in the Public Safety department at DePaul.

For this first post, I interviewed Bob Wachowski, the Public Safety Director. He oversees everything about public safety and helps run the CAPS meetings,works with other safety officers to run the fire awareness campaigns, and works on implementing new safety plans on campus.

He graduated from DePaul in 1983 and took a job as a public safety officer, and started working as the director 10 years ago.

Q: How did you get interested in the Public Safety field?
A: Law enforcement always interested me, and I enjoyed DePaul a lot as a student - so much that I never left! Over the years, I held every public safety office imaginable and just kept getting promoted.

Q: How did the Public Safety office get started?
A: Some time in the 1970s, there was a murder on DePaul's campus - a student-on-student murder. I wasn't here then, but I heard about it, and public safety programs came out of that.

Q: What's been your best day on the job?
A: Every day, because every day is different. You can come into work with a whole plan for your day, and then as soon as you walk in the door, something happens, and your plan is gone.

Q: What's been the worst day on the job?
A: Whenever we've had a major crime on campus, because somebody gets hurt - we don't want to see that. In the past, we have had hate crimes and sexual assaults.

Q: What are some of the most common crimes Public Safety has to deal with?
A: Thefts are big - especially in this economy, people are pickpocketing and stealing a lot more. Students also leave their stuff unattended. If you set up your laptop and walk away for a second, or set down your purse, your things could be gone instantly. You really need to be aware of your surroundings.

Q: If a student is interested in working with Public Safety, what are some tips you have for them?
A: Go to school and get a criminal justice background, and intern with a law enforcement agency if you can. Also, come and talk to the Public Safety officers here at DePaul.

Q: What are three major mistakes students make that cause them to be key targets for crime?A: Walking alone at night, leaving possessions unattending, and not being aware of their surroundings.

Q: How can students get involved in Public Safety?
A: Come to the CAPS meetings - they're organized once a quarter, and are a good way for students to learn about crimes on campus and voice their concerns.

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