Police offer tips for crime prevention

By Caitlin Centner

UK students looking to stay safe on campus should avoid risky behavior and keep their eyes open, UK Police say.

A total of 11,914 part one-index crimes were reported in Lexington last year.  Of the 562 robberies reported in Lexington in 2009, only six occurred on the University of Kentucky campus, said Alan Saylor, police officer and crime prevention specialist for the University of Kentucky Police Department.

There isn’t a significant difference regarding crimes reported on campus between this year and last year.

Saylor said nine crimes have been reported this year, five occurring in a span of two weeks.

“Your chances of being robbed in the city are much higher than it would be here on campus,” Saylor said.  “We have an open campus.  There is nothing to prevent that crime from occurring here.”

Most of the incidents that have happened on and around the UK campus occured during early morning hours.  The robberies occurred in isolated areas of campus and the burglaries around campus were not forced entries.

Authorities emphasize that never walking alone and keeping a locked door does make a difference.

“You secure in and you secure out when you leave everyday,” said Saylor.

Junior Travis Benge says he has made it a habit to lock his front door whenever he leaves and enters his house, which is located near campus.

“I’d rather be safe than sorry,”Benge said.

According to UK Police, the most important advice for students is to take simple precautions and to utilize the tools provided by the university to lower the risk of being a crime victim.  SAFECATS is a resource for UK students that provide a safe and free escort anywhere on campus.

Students must avoid risky behavior of any kind, keep an eye on each other and make sure everything is safe, Saylor said.

“What I see most often is that students do not want to inconvenience themselves, when you inconvenience yourself, you lower your risk of being in an emergency situation,” said Saylor.

Some UK students are sure the inconvienence is worth it.

“I always take the cats safety path when walking on campus,” sophomore Paige Recker said.  “If it is after dark I always have a good guy friend walk me home.  I have the UKPD number as well as the number for UK bus service saved in my phone so it’s always on hand.”

“I always walk with a friend in a populated or well-lit area on campus,” sophomore Stephen Pompilio said.  “If I know I’m going to be out late I make sure to have a friend pick me up.”

Saylor has been with UKPD for 27 years, and from years of experience he knows the university community and how it changes.  He said there isn’t an explanation for what caused the five robberies within a span of two weeks, but students should take the same precautions to stay safe that they always have.

“Education along with good enforcement is what we’re doing right,” said Saylor.