November 2, 2010

Vigilance Vital in Wake of Incidents

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The Cornell University Police Department has issued several Crime Alerts about forcible touching this semester. In each case, a female victim reported being stopped by a male perpetrator who touched her in a sexual manner against her will.

These attacks on Cornell women are shocking, and we want our community to know that we are working diligently with area law enforcement agencies to identify the perpetrators and increase patrols and police presence on and near the Cornell campus.

Additionally, we ask that anyone with information that might assist law enforcement in its investigation, please call the Cornell Police Major Investigations unit at 607-255-8953.

In the meantime, we urge all students to take sensible precautions to keep themselves safe.

To reach CUPD quickly, dial 911 from your cell or pre-program 607-255-1111 on speed dial. Call immediately to report any suspicious behavior, such as if you believe you are being followed or if you see an individual loitering in an isolated area.

The best and easiest self-defense is company. Try to time your runs, jogs and walks when a friend or trusted classmate can go with you, especially during the early morning and night hours, and plan routes of travel that are more heavily populated and well lit.

If that’s not practical, take advantage of Cornell’s Blue Light program:

• Blue Light Escort Service (8 p.m.-2 a.m., 7 days a week when classes are in session): A free walking escort service featuring teams of security guard-certified men and women with a direct link to police. They can walk anyone to his or her bus or personal car for transport off campus. Call 607-255-7373 or use one of the Blue Light phones on campus.

• Blue Light Phones: There are 86 Blue Light phones and 275 indoor emergency phones on campus. Lift the receiver or press the button and you are connected with CUPD. Use the phones when you are lost, having car problems, want to report a suspicious incident or medical emergency, or for any other kind of assistance or information. As soon as the connection is activated, the location of the phone is displayed on the Cornell Police switchboard. If a caller does not or cannot speak, an officer is immediately dispatched to the phone site.

• Blue Light Buses: These are TCAT routes 92 and 93, which operate on campus daily from 6:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. throughout the academic year. Anyone can ride for free when they use a CU photo ID at the farebox. For route maps, see tcatbus.com.

If you must walk alone, remain aware of your surroundings at all times. Keep your head up, look around and remove earphones. Let a friend or friends know of your plans, and call to let them know you have arrived at your destination safely. Avoid “shortcuts” and unofficial pathways that are generally unlit, isolated and overgrown.

CUPD can assist you in locating appropriate campus safety and self-defense workshops — just call the Crime Prevention office at 607-255-7404 if you’d like to arrange one for your organization or residence hall. For more information about the Cornell Police and safety in our community, visit the Cornell Police website at www.cupolice.cornell.edu.

Kathy Zoner is the chief of the Cornell Police Department. She may be reached at krz1@cornell.edu. Guest Room appears periodically this semester.

Original Author: Kathy Zoner