Security looks to quell campus crime

Thinking about walking down to 7-11 for a slice of pizza or a corndog later this evening? Director of Security Todd Badham wants you to think again before making your 2:30 a.m. snack pilgrimage off campus.

This time of year has had some of the highest crime rates in the past, and Security Services would like to help change that trend.

“This time of year can potentially be the biggest crime period because there are a bunch of new people that don’t know Tacoma or haven’t lived by themselves before. Around 25 percent of the campus population…is new and that can lead to problems,” Badham said. “They might walk to Safeway at 1 or 2 a.m. and not realize that they are at risk.”

This leads to what Badham says is an oft-forgotten part of Security’s job: crime prevention and education. As of press time, there had been no major security incidents yet this year, and Badham believes there are easy ways to make sure it stays that way.

“There are basic, basic things that we know to be successful. Extremely rarely do we have theft from rooms with locked doors, for example. Of the hundreds of bike thefts we have had over time, only one or two were bikes correctly using a U-bolt lock. So if we can convince people to do these things, we will have made a big dent,” Badham said.

Off-campus travel presents another possible risk, despite fewer instances of off-campus crime. Security recommended traveling in groups during normal hours of the day. Planning ahead seems like the most important and perhaps most overlooked strategy. Security also offers an escort service for travel within a mile of campus, although the policy should be reserved for instances when students feel unsafe or uncomfortable instead of just lazy.

“We have got a few regulars, the frequent fliers. We are not in the taxi cab business; do not use the security escort as a ride home,” Badham said. “If there is a genuine safety threat, that is what we are here for. We want to support and continue to provide that service and so we do not have time to be a taxi.”

While they may be more mundane in nature, there also exist the day-to-day dangers of campus life. One growing issue for the campus community is mixed transportation on popular walkways. Commencement Walk, which Badham likes to call the superhighway, has played a central role in this growing problem.

“It is a concern for me because there are golf carts, bikes, pedestrians and skateboarders all using the same space, and often at an accelerated speed. There have been no accidents so far, but people need to slow down and be more aware of what is going on around them,” Badham said.

The university is looking into developing a policy to help decrease  the risk of accidents, according to Badham. One option would be to deem unsafe or reckless activity as a disciplinary infraction enforced by the student conduct process.