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Hawks Observe Campus Crime and Safety Week

default article imageThe Department of Criminal Justice and the Criminal Justice Honor Society held its first Campus Crime & Safety Week from October 17 to October 20. The purpose was to raise awareness on crime and safety issues on campus.

Presentations were held in the Carol Afflitto Conference Room, Monday through Thursday during the evening. The University Police Department (MUPD) also contributed, with presentations.

Doctor Michele Grillo, Assistant Professor, was responsible for organizing the event. She said,

“The Crime and Safety Week was a great opportunity for campus police to interact with students. I wanted to bring more awareness to campus crime and safety, as I witness quite a bit here. I’d like to present ways in which students can easily prevent their own victimization, primarily theft.”

Grillo and her assistant Christine D’Ottaviano, a graduate student, asked MUPD if they would be willing to conduct presentations on various campus crime and safety issues. Working with Chief Bill McElrath, they were able to provide four presentations on various topics in conjunction with MUPD.

The topics that were discussed during the week included: an active shooter informational session, a sexual assault informational session, a campus safety and dangers of texting while driving session, and a hazing and anti-bullying session. MUPD described vandalism as the number one crime that takes place on campus.

McElrath covered the topic of active shooters. Active shooters at college campuses are considered the greatest threat, nationwide. “You don’t want to be that person the day after that said I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know who to report it to,” McElrath said.

McElrath pointed out some important behavior that will help, in the event a student finds themselves in the middle of a shooting. Things that should not be done would entail running towards the police in an aggressive threatening manner, pointing at the police, making any quick movements, screaming or yelling at the police, and having anything in hands that looks suspicious. Things students should do would include raising arms, spreading fingers, and spreading legs and arms out to show innocence. Also it is important to focus and listen to what the police are saying.

There are five phases of an active shooters mind, when he or she is thinking of attacking an environment. The first phase of active shooters mindset would be the fantasy stage, where he or she   initially, the shooter only dreams of the shooting. The second stage would be the planning stage, He or she is determining logistics – the who, what, when, where and how of the infamous day, the third stage is the preparation stage, in which the suspect may be obtaining gun powder or other chemicals for his improvised explosive devices. The fourth stage is the approach stage, when he or she is actually moving toward the intended target and will most likely be carrying the tools that he’ll use for the attack. And the final stage is the implementation stage, in which the shooter opens fire, and immediate action must be taken.

Kenneth Kennedy, Sergeant at MUPD, gave a presentation on texting while driving. He said “Obviously there is more risk texting, when talking on the phone while driving, because you have to take your eyes of the road.”

According to the New Jersey Traffic Laws, the use of a wireless telephone or electronic communication device by an operator of a moving motor vehicle on a public road or highway shall be unlawful except when the telephone is a hands-free wireless telephone or the electronic communication device is used hands-free.

He reports that in New Jersey, in the past 23 months, there has been 224,725 citations, and on average 9,770 people issued for violating the state’s cell phone law.  

Kennedy includes research in this presentation that explains in 2008, 3,610 crashes involved a driver using a handheld cell phone resulted in 1548 injuries and 13 deaths in New Jersey.

October is National Crime Prevention Awareness month, and the week of October 16th was themed Campus Crime and Safety. One of the organizations that contribute to this month is the National Crime and Prevention Council (NCPC).

The NCPC is a private, nonprofit tax-exempt organization whose primary mission is to be the nation’s leaders in helping people keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe from crime.

According to the NCPC, safe schools and college campuses are places where students excel at academics and extracurricular activities. Students, faculty, administrators, and school resource officers or campus law enforcement can work together to prevent campus crime and help ensure a secure environment where people can focus on getting an education.

President Paul Gaffney II said, “I believe that students who practice peer responsibility – who are aware of others and watch out for their peers, classmates, teammates, fellow club members, fellow Greeks, roommates, and others – are in the very best position to identify potentially dangerous situations and help their fellow students who appear in trouble. Taking responsibility for one’s peer is a positive individual trait and, when exercised collectively within a community, results in a successful society. I ask you again to watch out and take care of each other.”