The truth about security is simple – everyone complains about it, but no one actually does anything about it. Now, you’re asking yourself, what can I do? If you’ve been as attentive to the signs up in the school and Living Center as you are when your best friend has a recital, you might have noticed signs about Security meetings and blue light walks. Oh, you’ve missed those, huh? Well, now’s your chance to listen up and learn how you can help Security help you.
Between an assault with a weapon earlier in the semester and a hate crime more recently, among other incidents, security is an issue that you need to learn about.
Two personal safety seminars have been run with Robert Bennett, a crime prevention officer, and with Linda Muise, Assistant Dean of Residential Life at Eastman, with poor attendance. The first brought nine students and the second only brought three.
As on the River Campus, Security holds yearly “Walk for the Light” walks around campus where students and faculty can participate and tell security where more blue light phones would be useful. This event at Eastman is also poorly attended.
There are over 800 students at Eastman and, according to the numbers, 12 think security is an issue worth looking into more closely. How many more crimes do there need to be to make students care?
Security, though small, does their job, and they do it well. Between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., there is always one person on Security at Eastman. In the evening hours, 3:30 p.m. to midnight, there are always two security officers – one in the school, and one in the dorms – and between the hours of midnight and 8 a.m., there is one Security officer on duty.
This doesn’t sound like a lot, but to put this in some perspective for you, this is the same amount of security allocated for the UR’s River Campus, which is unarguably a much larger campus, with more students to attend to.
During a shift, each Security officer must walk – or drive – around the perimeter of the campus six times. In total, that means that each day there are Security officers checking the campus 24 times. Since Sept. 30, when they upped the amount of perimeter checks from four to six for each officer, the campus has been checked 840 times.
Many additions are being made to the campus to make it safer. Security is adding an extra blue light phone near the popular hangout by the YMCA, directly outside of the Student Living Center.
Also, an extra security camera will be added that will look directly on the plaza area outside of the Living Center, since it seems to be a hot spot for crime. There is talk of having a stronger connection with the Rochester Police Department as well. Eastman and the RPD have a good relationship. There is currently a program in Rochester such as this one, called NET, a Neighborhood Empowerment Team. This would create a current police presence at Eastman.
Students are often confused about what counts as the campus and what doesn’t. According to Ed Schiedel, Assistant Director of Security, the campus includes university property and its sidewalks. This means that farther down Gibbs Street, toward University Avenue, is not under the protection of Security, and a block down Main Street is not covered by Security, nor is East Avenue by Eastman Commons, where many students live. This is not to say that Eastman Security will not respond to students who are having problems in these surrounding areas, but they will not be part of exterior checks.
There are also multiple ways in which you can use Security to your advantage. The first is to call Security anytime you have a question or concern. Schiedel stresses the fact that the security phones are not around just for emergencies. Security is also happy to walk students to the dorms or to close locations, including the East End parking lot.
A tip for students is to call early when there is a problem. “Students know when things aren’t right,” Schiedel said. “They need to call and explain the situation … we will send someone.” He also said that walking in groups is a helpful preventative step, and students shouldn’t give money to panhandlers since it only encourages them to return.
Other programs exist for students that aren’t well advertised. One is called the “Ride Home” program, where students can buy tickets for a cab ride within a two-mile radius at $2 a ticket. There is an internal number through the university that will connect you to the cab company, x4-2222. Another program is for students who have Cingular and Verizon cell phones. Calling #413 will call Security directly on cell phones through these companies, and you don’t need a 585 area code to take advantage of this. It’s a free call, so add it to your phone book.
In the past, the Student Living Center had been selling Clubs for student’s cars, where the money goes to charity. For students who are still interested in buying a Club for their cars, limited amounts are still available through UR Security. For Clubs, or to contact Security for any reason, call x3-5200.
“There will be incidents because of where we live,” Schiedel said. “Knowledge is power, and having a plan is key.” Rochester is not a safe city, and students need to be aware and connected to programs that will help them. Security events and meetings happen for your safety and attendance could help you learn how to decrease your chance of being a victim.
Regeuro can be reached at