Magazine article The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

Gotcha! Campus Crime Prevention Program Earns High Marks

Magazine article The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

Gotcha! Campus Crime Prevention Program Earns High Marks

Article excerpt

College students generally have more on their minds than security and crime prevention. They may leave their valuables unattended or allow strangers access to restricted areas. And, when they do...Gotcha!

For the past 5 years, the Towson State University Police Department has worked to decrease crime on campus and to improve the crime prevention awareness and attitudes of the students and faculty with a program called "Gotcha." Under this program, uniformed officers of both the patrol division and the K-9 section search the campus for security or safety violations, such as open or unlocked doors or valuables left unattended. Once found, the officers leave key-shaped "Gotcha" cards at the scene of the infraction.

The cards say: "If this had been an actual 'Rip Off,' you would have been a statistic. Don't give a thief an opportunity to rip you off. Lock it up!" The cards also have spaces for officers to identify the applicable security/safety violation, such as "your door unlocked," "your valuables left in plain view," or "equipment not secured." A blank space allows officers to make additional comments.

Plainclothes officers direct another aspect of the Gotcha Program. They test the university community's security awareness by attempting to get students and faculty to give them access to restricted or secure areas, which have no trespassing warnings clearly posted at all entrances. If admitted, the officers identify themselves and discuss how the individual should handle the situation differently in the future. …

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