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Review board designed to re-evaluate security needs

November 8, 2012

A UW-River Falls student reported her car being vandalized after parking in the UWRF O-Lot on-campus, according to a police report. Before making the call to the University Police (UP) Department, Kori Lypert had taken her vehicle to two different dealerships to be looked at after it had not been running properly, only to find that approximately five gallons of water had been poured in the gas tank.

Lypert reported this incident, but no action was able to be done on this crime for a few reasons. One being that UP had no evidence proving who had done it.

UP has formed a committee made of students and faulty members to reevaluate safety on the UWRF campus to try to see how safe students feel on campus, and how to create a safer campus experience. This committee will be looking at parking lots and the emergency blue lights located on campus specifically. One of the reasons that Lypert’s vandalism case has no suspects is because the crime was not on videotape.

“If you have your personal vehicles in the parking lot, you don’t want to go out the next day and see that somebody’s broken into it, or somebody’s hit the car and taken off,” said Trende.

The cameras, which the department are considering installing in the parking lots, would have a wide-angle view and would be synchronized to make it easier to go look back at video tapes.

UWRF student Patrick Barnick thinks that while sometimes cameras are seen as a “violation of privacy” in more public areas, they could help prevent crime in parking lots.
“People are more apt to not do anything on camera,” said Barnick.

Even with new videotapes, Trende describes this as “relative” because it is all “individually based.”

Trende said that the committee will also discussing the emergency blue lights and if they should be replaced. Some of the blue lights are around 10-years-old, when their anticipated life expectancy is five to seven years.

A UW-Stevens Point student, Blaxton Bucklew, was chaperoning on the UWRF campus and said that he was also thinking of transferring to UWRF. Bucklew’s experiences on UWRF versus UWSP are different in terms of security, despite the schools being in the same UW System.
“I don’t see the same services around like I do at Stevens Point, but it’s also a smaller community but I feel safer because it is a smaller community. I have seen the local authorities a couple times,” said Bucklew.

With that said, he has seen more cameras on the UWRF campus in residence halls, classroom buildings and in the University Center.

“That is a good thing because when things go down and we can’t figure out who it is, it’s because we don’t have any documentation of who did it,” said Bucklew.

He also said that he noticed more of a police presence on campus at UWSP, along with more emergency stations.

“They pass by in their SUV’s once in a while. I feel safe, there’s no threats that I’ve felt,” said Barnick.

The committee will be discussing what they want to see happen on the UWRF campus in terms of security, but after that they need to put together prices and figure out if the prices will be affordable, said Trende.