BY ERIC G. CZAJKA, Staff Writer
There are 54 emergency phones mounted on illuminated, blue kiosks that are placed throughout the main campus of UM-Dearborn–but chances are you will never need to use them.
That’s because in 2011 there were zero major crimes reported on the UM-Dearborn campus.
The low crime rate resulted in StateUniversity.com naming UM-Dearborn as the third safest university in Michigan for 2011.
According to the UM-Dearborn Department of Public Safety (DPS), in 2011 there were zero reports of vehicle theft on campus. This figure is down from a decade-long average of six incidents per year. Larcenies have also remained at a consistently low average.
The low crime numbers are the result of the high priority that Police Chief Richard Gordon and Chancellor Daniel Little place on campus safety. The DPS employs 23 members, 9 of which are certified officers with full police authority.
“Public safety is everyone’s responsibility,” said police Lt. Kenneth Paris. “Police Chief Richard Gordon has emphasized high-visibility patrols of our uniformed police and security officers in parking lots and buildings.”
Even though reports of larceny are down significantly this year, petty theft is still the main concern for the DPS. In 2009 there were 62 reported cases of larceny, but in 2011 the number was considerably lower – down to only 36 cases. Lt. Paris emphasized the need for students to be aware of their surroundings.
“(Students) are continually reminded to safeguard valuables,” said Lt. Paris.
On campus, larceny is often the result of students leaving laptops, cell phones or other valuables unattended in buildings. Police officers who walk through buildings on campus are instructed to remind students not to leave anything behind.
While the police are constantly seen throughout the campus, many students view their presence in a positive light.
“It gives a sense of safety,” said Katie Gibson. “But the police presence is not over-bearing.”
The 18-year-old freshman still carries a large, yellow key fob on her key chain that displays the contact number of the DPS. The fob, distributed to during freshman orientation, is a reminder that an on-campus dispatcher is available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.
Besides the 24-hour dispatch line, there are other safety resources that UM-D offers to students. Students can sign up for the UM Emergency Alert System through the main UM-Dearborn website, umd.umich.edu. The Alert System will contact students in the event of an emergency via text message, e-mail, or voice message.
Emergency phone kiosks are placed between buildings and provide a direct line to the DPS. The DPS also offers vehicle lockout and jump-start assistance along with security escorts for students who do not wish to walk to their vehicles alone.
As Lt. Paris noted, public safety is a concern to everyone on campus. Because of this, students are encouraged to contact the DPS to report any suspicious activity or potential threats by calling (313) 593-5333.