October 2013

Campus Safety: What You Need to Know

By: Marc Lovicott, UWPD Public Information Officer

UWRightNow_Police13_2425Since the start of the fall semester, campus safety has been on the minds of UW-Madison students, staff, and faculty.  Recent off-campus crimes have gotten lots of attention, and more people are talking about personal safety and what they can do to protect themselves.

First off, some stats: Madison Police tell us from May 1 to September 23, they’ve been involved with 34 robberies  — the same time frame last year saw 26 robberies.  Madison Police say the up-tick is due to a national trend, called “Apple Picking” —  where perpetrators were grabbing phones out of victims’ hands, sometimes knocking them down.

In addition to the “Apple Picking” type crimes, there have also been two armed home invasions in a residential area south of campus — which Madison Police say is very concerning.  In both of those cases, one or two armed men entered a home, and at gunpoint, ordered the occupants to turn over their valuables.  In both cases, the victims were not injured.

UWPD participates in a Town Hall on 9/29/13, with Dean of Students office, Madison Police, ASM, and Trans. Services.

UWPD participates in a Town Hall on 9/29/13, with Dean of Students office, Madison Police, ASM, and Trans. Services.

UWPD and the City of Madison Police Department have always had a strong working relationship with each other — but we’ve recently strengthened that partnership and worked to provide extra patrols — in cars, on foot, and on bikes — in and around the campus area.  UWPD and other campus safety partners have also joined forces, and taken part in three public outreach efforts — online in person — to take questions from students and parents, and offer safety tips.  They include:

  • Never walk, jog, or bike alone — especially at night.  Use SAFEwalk, a taxi, or public transportation when you can’t find someone to go with you.  If you must walk alone or in a small group, use well-lit, well-known areas.
  • Use common sense and don’t display phones or electronics.
  • Don’t wear headphones, especially at night.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings, and don’t look at your phone while walking.
  • If you’re ever confronted by an individual with a dangerous weapon, give up your property and never resist.
  • Report suspicious behavior or criminal activity to police IMMEDIATELY by calling 911.
  • Be wary of people who don’t appear to belong in the area. If you doubt that they belong in the area, ask them questions. If their answers are vague or suspicious, call the police.

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What is COOP?

By: David LaWall, UWPD Emergency Management

fireImagine you are returning to your apartment after a long day — you’re looking forward to catching up with your friends on Facebook and enjoying the latest YouTube videos.   Your iPhone has a low battery, but you have a charger in your apartment and your laptop is on the kitchen table.  As you arrive home, your apartment complex is surrounded by fire trucks and emergency vehicles — your apartment building is on fire!  No one seems to know what happened or how long this will take.

What do you do?

This is an example of the type of situation where Continuity of Operations Planning (known as COOP) would come in handy.  For many people on campus, COOP is looked at as a required additional duty that really only pertains to a few large organizations — and that couldn’t be further from the truth.  There are more than 100 departments, divisions, colleges, and organizations within the UW System that are required to write, review, train and exercise COOP plans — but the basic purpose and  procedures of business continuity are also useful for any size organization and for personal daily preparation.

Continuity planning is simply the practice of ensuring the execution of essential functions through all circumstances.  The key is to be prepared and ready.  It’s always easier to respond to an unexpected event if you have thought about it previously.  In the example above, the loss of a phone, texting ability, and Internet access (even for a short amount of time) would at least make you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable.  You don’t need a written COOP plan to continue to function, but you’ll use some of the basic COOP processes to recover.

In most cases, you’d probably find a friend or location (emergency contacts and alternate location) in order to contact your family, monitor news and information sources to find what the current situation is (alternate communications), and determine what things you need right away — like a place to stay, prescription medicines, food, and additional clothing.  If you take a few moments NOW to determine who, when and how to get assistance in a situation where you lose access to your normal resources, it will make things easier when a real event happens.

checklistThe other key to continuity is the realization that these events can occur at ANY time.  There are events that provide some lead time for changing your daily routine, such as a winter storm being forecast or planned renovations to a building which may require you to live or work in a temporary facility — but you won’t always have that luxury to plan your actions.  Events such as the fire at MSC, or a gas leak at a campus residence hall, provide little or no warning at all.  Wouldn’t it be helpful if you knew what to do right away, rather than trying to remember what things you need most on the fly?

COOP planning is everyone’s responsibility — whether it is for an organization or for personal well-being.  The larger the organization, the more complex the continuity process becomes — however, the three main things needed to continue operations are people, facilities, and communications.  These three items are also the backbone of personal COOP planning.  Taking a few minutes to write down the specific people, resources, and communications you need to continue your daily life whether its going to school or the office will allow you to be better prepared when unexpected emergencies occur.

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Lit Up: “Be Bright” on the Road

By: Officer Kristin Radtke, UWPD Community Officer

Did you know when it’s dark, you are required by state law to have appropriate lighting for your bike.  The law states there needs to be a white front light visible at least 500 feet away, and a red rear reflector visible to others between 50 and 500 feet.  These lights are REQUIRED if you ride on a street, path, or sidewalk.

So, what is the UW-Madison Police Department doing to help get this message across to those on campus?

bike lightJust as we did last year, UWPD has partnered with Safe Communities to obtain a grant from the Dane County Bike Association — we received that grant again this year, and we’re using those funds to purchase 80 bike light combination sets (front and rear) to give out to the campus community.

Late last month, UWPD hit the streets for our “Be Bright” bike light initiative.  During the event, officers stopped bikers for not having appropriate lights on their bike. While the violator was educated by a UWPD officer, a volunteer installed lights on the bike.  Another initiative is scheduled later this month.

If you choose to bike in Madison and on campus, please have appropriate bike lights, stop at stop signs and red lights, yield to pedestrians, and wear a bike helmet.  You’ll find more rules and safety tips in the article below.

Stay safe out there!

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Bicyclists: Know the Rules of the Road

By: Officer Tricia Meinholz, UWPD Community Officer

As the 2013-14 school starts up, we’re seeing an increase in bicycle related traffic violations and crashes. Some of these crashes involve bicyclists colliding with other bicyclists, motor vehicles, and/or pedestrians.

Every day, we take complaints about bicyclists not stopping at stop signs or red lights, not yielding to pedestrians, and riding their bicycles on the sidewalks around campus. As a bicyclist you are required by Wisconsin state law to follow the same rules of the road as a motor vehicle. Some of those laws include:

bike share road– All operators of bicycles are required to follow the laws regarding traffic control signals (including stop signs).

– When a bicyclist is allowed to ride on sidewalks (due to no bicycle lane present), they must yield to pedestrians and give audible warning of their passing.

– Be sure to operate your bicycle in the appropriate direction when in a bike lane, and obey one-way signs.

If you receive a citation for failing to follow the Wisconsin bicycle laws, you can face fines ranging from $150.00 to $180.00.

Library Mall located between N. Park Street and N. Lake Street is a major thoroughfare for bicycle and pedestrian traffic, and we’ve seen an increase in crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists. The UW-Madison Police Department community officers will be conducting bicycle education and enforcement at various intersections and sidewalks around campus throughout the months of September, October, and November. If you have any areas of concern, please contact your community officer with that information so education and enforcement can be done in the area.

univ ave bikePlease remember these four important safety tips:

  • Act like a vehicle — obey all traffic control signals, including stop signs/lights.
  • Protect your bicycle — be sure to register your bike, park appropriately, and lock your bike with a U-lock when unattended.
  • Use safety and protective equipment — ALWAYS use a helmet and lights.
  • Have fun, but be safe!

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UWPD’s New Computer Forensics Lab

By: Det. Doug Scheller, UWPD

The ball got rolling in 1994 — at that time, when a new kind of case came to light, the UW-Madison Police Department started what would eventually become the Digital Forensics Division.  The case involved a student who was attempting to “hack” into computer servers on the East Coast — searching for vital and sensitive information. The beginning of this new technology era was both an unknown but thrilling path — before 1994, the agency had never taken on a cyber-type cases.

UWPD’s Detective Bureau was tasked with handling this case, and assigned a young detective, Doug Scheller, to the job. Detective Scheller went on to solve this case — it was the beginning of “the future” for UWPD.  In just four years, the agency moved to develop a more stable computer forensics unit.

Det. Doug Scheller and Officer Andy Neilson go over evidence in UWPD's new Digital Forensics Lab.

Det. Doug Scheller and Officer Andy Nielsen review evidence in UWPD’s new Digital Forensics Lab.

Detective Scheller solely ran the Digital Forensics Division unit until 2011  — that’s when expanding the unit was discussed, after the significant increase in cases involving computer forensics.  By that time, the massive invasion of smartphone technology and increased cyber-crime was at its peak — it prompted the department to promote police officer Marshall Ogren to the position of Digital Forensics Detective.  Det. Ogren successfully completed the Madison College Digital Forensics Program in late 2012.

In April of 2013, the UW-Madison Police Department officially opened the newly remodeled doors to its Digital Forensics Lab. This new space boasts one centralized location for both detectives along with workspace for collaborating with other local agencies.  The new lab has many ideal pieces of technology, all focusing on investigating and solving digital and cyber-related crimes.

Both detectives continue to train rigorously in the new and ever-changing world of technology.

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FREE Gun Locks Available

BY: Marc Lovicott, UWPD Public Information Officer

gun lockThanks to our strong partnership with Safe Communities, the UW-Madison Police Department is once again offering FREE gun locks to the general public.  The cable gun locks were funded through a grant from the Charles E. Kubly Foundation.

To receive a free gun lock, you can stop by UWPD anytime — day or night (1429 Monroe Street, right across from Camp Randall Stadium).  As part of the grant, you will only be asked to provide your age, sex, and race — and you’ll receive the complimentary lock.  The questions are for statistical use only, and are optional — you can choose not to answer.

For more information, call us at 608-264-COPS.

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