Back to school means back to safety. Beginning this semester the University Police Department will implement three new programs for the students of Sam Houston to ease some of their worries and make campus a safer place.
The first of these new programs is an online registration system. Students and faculty can logon to the University Police Department’s website and register any of their belongings that have a serial number. Students can register anything from laptops, cell phones, and television sets to car stereos.
“From this information, [the University Police Department] creates a database so that, in the event of [the item] being lost or stolen, we can enter it into the state and national computers as missing or stolen,” said Deputy Chief, James Pitch. “This way if the item ever comes up in a pawn shop or if an officer stops somebody and runs the serial number, it can be returned to the owner and the people that have it can be arrested.”
If any item is stolen and the owner does not have the serial number recorded, it is almost impossible for the police to recover that property or find the criminal responsible. The police department hopes that this program will help find many criminals and also act as a deterrent for future criminals because it will be easier to catch them with the property information on hand.
The second program is also online and it is called Silent Witness. This is an anonymous witness reporting system where students can fill out a form with information about the complaint they have and send it to the police department anonymously where it can be investigated further.
“We hear very often that students’ roommates or suitemates maybe doing something illegal but they don’t want to report it lest it come back on them, so they don’t report it,” said Fitch. “This gives them the opportunity to report anything without us knowing who reported it.”
The University Police Department will accept information not only from on Sam Houston property, but from all over Huntsville and forward it on to the Huntsville Police Department.
For the third program, UPD is working with Residence Life to create Dorm Teams. Officers will be assigned a set of dorms and they will attend any dorm meetings or functions that they hold. When attending these events, the officers will not be on duty, but they will be there for the sole purpose of interacting with the students and forming relationships.
This way, according to Fitch, the officers can better get to know the university population on a one-on-one basis, to show students that they are people too. The goal is that once students get to know the officers, they will feel more comfortable talking to them about things that they would otherwise feel uncomfortable talking to a random person or officer about.
These programs are currently underway and will continue in following semesters.
To register your property or to make an anonymous report logon to http://www.shsu.edu/~upd_www/upd/ and click forms.