A neighborhood watch approach to campus safety

Randy Burba, chief of Public Safety

Guest column by Randy Burba, chief of Public Safety

Recent incidents remind us that in a city and on a campus, anything can happen. Being prepared and looking out for each other is the key to keeping our community safe. Chapman is a phenomenal place to live, work, go to school and visit. When a community like ours comes together to look out for each other, it becomes a powerful component in the overall safety of the community.

Public Safety officers patrol campus 24/7, but there are a limited number of eyes watching at any given time. When everyone in a community actively watches, there are thousands of eyes. Potential issues are seen faster, addressed more quickly and many times, even prevented from occurring. We all play an important role in keeping our community safe.

Many people may have heard of neighborhood watch programs within various cities and towns across the U.S. Here at Chapman, we have the PAWS program, which stands for Prevention, Awareness and Working together for Safety. This general crime prevention program is our way of protecting our community through awareness, building partnerships and outreach programs.

The prevention aspect involves active patrol by our highly trained officers, many of whom have retired from local police departments and have more than 20 years of experience. They patrol the campus 24 hours a day seven days a week. Public Safety never closes.

Prevention also includes more than 300 cameras throughout campus, intrusion alarms, door-prop alarms, controlled access and close relationships with the Orange Police Department, Orange County Sheriff and other state and federal partners. Community members can assist by locking up their valuables, reporting suspicious activity immediately and utilizing Safe Ride, a service that escorts students and faculty around campus.

Awareness is achieved through crime alert bulletins, timely warnings, campus emails, crime-prevention seminars and trainings, regular meetings with the Orange police and the individual engagement between the officers patrolling and our community members.

Working together for safety incorporates community outreach through tabling in the Attallah Piazza, crime prevention presentations, Rape Aggression Defense training, active shooter training, evacuation drills, the Panther Alert system, emergency messaging testing and Panther Guardian Safety App. Public Safety also provides individual training in first aid and CPR, the use of automated external defibrillators and fire extinguishers, how to prepare an emergency kit and broader campaigns, like the national “If You See Something, Say Something.”

A little preparation and training can alleviate a lot of fears. We encourage our community to reach out and take advantage of the services we offer. We will be happy to scale training up or down for any size group.

The most important takeaway is, we are here for you. Please do not be afraid to call with questions or concerns. It is OK to report something suspicious or ask questions about something that doesn’t seem right. If we keep looking out for each other as one Panther family, we are stronger and safer.

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