Do you know how to remain safe on campus? There has been a rise in campus crime over the years due the increased dorm population, according to Maj. Susan Norred, assistant director of safety and security for the University Police Department. Norred, a police officer for approximately 17 years, has primary concern for students that walk or jog alone at night. She has served in her current position for two years. Whenever a person is out alone at night, they are providing an opportunity for an assault or a robbery, she said. A person increases their vulnerability by wearing a headset while they are walking or jogging, she said. To prevent themselves from being a target for criminals, both female and male students should use the buddy system. They also should let someone know where they are going and when they can be expected to return. Another serious safety issue that has been brought to Norreds attention deals with campus parking.
Students will often be spotted returning to their cars after class and they will be offered a ride to their car so that the other person can have their parking space. This practice is a very, very dangerous practice for students to participate in and a person should never, under any circumstance, accept a ride from a stranger, she said. You never know who you are getting in the car with, Norred said. Meeting new people and trusting them very quickly is another personal safety issue that Norred addressed. Learn to build up trust before you actually entrust your life with them, she said. She advises meeting new people in a group setting, preferably with a good friend. Have your own transportation so that you do not have to rely on that person to take you back home, she said.
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Theft is also a personal safety issue at UF. Bicycles are the most commonly stolen item and they account for 40 percent of all thefts, Norred said. UPD can only do so much to prevent crimes from happening. Safety is a shared responsibility between the individual and the police department, she said. The UPD presents programs on campus safety to classes, fraternities and sororities and residence halls. They also perform other community service acts such as bike safety education, building security surveys and lighting surveys around campus.
Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol, also known as SNAP, is another program run by UPD. SNAP serves as a free escort service available to students, faculty and staff, Norred said. The drivers of the SNAP vans are UF students. The UPD checks out the criminal and driving records of the students before they are entrusted as representatives of the police department. SNAP vans run on 30-minute routes throughout the entire campus, seven days a week. For mor information on SNAP call (352)-392-SNAP. Its an excellent service, Norred said.