December 2013

 Preventing Winter Break Thefts

By: UWPD Staff & UW Parent Program Staff

With school about to break for the winter recess, the UW-Madison Police Department reminds parents and students to take a few steps to help reduce thefts. Crimes, including thefts, often occur when the reward to the criminal (such as obtaining your valuables), outweighs the risk or effort involved. During winter break, UW Police Officers are doing their part by increasing patrols around campus, but they need the campus community to help.

ValuablesStart by bringing your valuables – items such as iPods, laptops, and cameras – home with you when you leave campus. This removes the potential reward for a criminal, and it eliminates the opportunity for the item to be stolen. Other potential targets include cash, compact discs, bikes, jewelry, video games, stereos, and televisions. Don’t leave attractive items out in plain sight. If possible, store them in a locked drawer, closet, or interior room. Take small valuables with when you leave.

locking-door-w-keyWhile it may seem obvious, don’t forget to lock your residence before you head out of town for the holiday break. In your excitement to return home, you might forget this easy and important step. Be sure to also check apartment and offices doors and windows as well. It may also be a good idea to let your landlord, property owner, or co-worker know how long you’ll be gone and how you can be reached in the event of a problem.

Recovering stolen items does not happen as often as we’d like, but it is almost impossible unless the victim is able to provide the police an item’s serial number. Be sure to keep a log of all of your valuable property. Include the item description, value, and serial numbers. This could also be as simple as photocopying the serial number directly off the item – and filing it away. This information helps police to track and recover stolen property, and assists with any insurance claims. And if you are a victim, be sure to call police IMMEDIATELY – don’t wait days after the crime occurred. Immediacy is incredibly important in a police investigation.

The UW-Madison Police Department is always working to keep your property safe. For more information, call the department at 608-264-COPS (2677) or email

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Safe Shopping this Holiday Season

By: UWPD Community Officer Kristin Radtke & Security Officer Larry Schultz

Shopping-BagsTis the season – it’s the busiest shopping time of the year! With that, there are many things to consider and remember. Here are some crime prevention tips to keep in mind, with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season:

First, prepare before you go shopping:

  • – If you use checks, take only the number of checks you need, plus one spare.
  • – Have the phone numbers of your credit/debit cards in a safe place so you can cancel them quickly and easily if any are lost or stolen.
  • – If at all possible, scan a copy of your credit cards for reference – and be sure to keep them in a safe, secure place.
  • – Do NOT keep your social security card, birth certificate, or passport with you.  Keep these items in a safe, secure place at home.
  • – If you have a GPS device, don’t use “HOME” as a listing – use another name. If your car is stolen or towed, someone has access to your address via the GPS if it is marked HOME.

When you go shopping, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • – Have your cell phone charged – keep an extra battery or portable charger with you as well.
  • – Remember where you parked your vehicle.
  • – Place all of your packages out of sight – the best place is in your trunk.
  • – Be aware of your surroundings at all times
  • – Have your car keys ready when you get to your car.

We want you to be safe and safeguard your property this holiday season! Happy holidays, and the all the best in 2014!

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Don’t Get Scammed this Holiday Season

By: UWPD Detective Doug Scheller

We’re all familiar with the ever-present e-mail scams, phishing scams, etc.  Scams are also present on many on-line auction sites – from big sites like eBay to, more localized sites like Craigslist.  The good thing about the Craigslist-type sites is that many of the transactions are in person and cash transactions, which tends to keep things safe.  But don’t get overly comfortable, and possibly careless – you still need to take your safety seriously.

If you’re buying an item, remember that there are never too many questions you can ask the seller!  It’s always a good idea to get a name and phone number, and try to talk to a live person.  Email accounts are a dime a dozen, and easily created with false information.  If the offer looks or sounds too good to be true, it just might be.  Here are some other helpful tips to consider:

  • – If a meeting is arranged, make it in a very public and safe spot.
  • – Always try to take a second person with you to a meeting, or at least tell a friend where and when the meeting is taking place.
  • – At any point, if anything seems wrong or if you are uncomfortable, back out and leave.

fraud2The same issues are present if you are selling an item.  You still need to be safe and careful.  First and foremost, never buy or sell to anyone using checks, money orders, etc.  Many fraud cases occur when the other party in a transaction sends you a check – possibly for over the purchase price – and asks you to cash the check and send the difference to an electronic payment system like Western Union, etc.  This should scream “fraud!” at you.  Often times, the fraudsters attempt to victimize people posting on-line ads for employment, housing etc.

Anyone can become a victim – and if you find yourself in that position, immediately contact your local police agency and report the incident.

Be careful, and stay safe!

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Travel Safe During Winter Break

By: UWPD Officer Stewart Ballweg – Emergency Management

As the cold weather approaches, it’s important for you to be aware of several safety tips and travel considerations.  Personal safety is vital – always be aware of your surroundings while walking to and from classes, or if you are out for a walk.  Always walk with a friend – but even more importantly, in the hours of darkness. Utilize the services that our wonderful campus has to offer such as SAFEwalk, Madison Metro bus service, or the numerous cab companies in the downtown area.  If you’re in a situation where you or your friends are not feeling safe consider the above mentioned programs.

In an emergency, you have several options – some of which include the numerous emergency phones on and around Campus. These phones will put you in contact with the UWPD Communications Center within a few seconds. Always carry your cell phone with you – but remember calling 911 from your cell phone will ring into the Dane County Communications Center; not the UW-Madison Police Department, so always know your location. Another idea is to purchase a whistle to alert others that you may need assistance. The UW-Madison Police Department encourages personal safety; contact our agency at 264-COPS (2677) or dial 911 if the situation dictates an emergency response.

If you’re traveling this holiday season, your personal safety is also very important!  Consider the following tips as you make your way around during the cold season:

  • car snow– Always have a full tank of fuel in your vehicle.
  • – Carry an emergency kit with you in your vehicle – it should include items like a first aid kit, a blanket, jumper cables, a shovel, a change of clothes, etc.
  • – Be sure to have extra/warm clothes in your vehicle in the event you’re stranded due to vehicle breakdowns, poor road conditions, or any unforeseen issues.
  • – Let others know when you leave or expect to arrive at your destination.
  • – Have your cell phone with you, and don’t forget the charger.  Consider carrying an extra cell phone battery with you.

Safety is the responsibility of all of us. Remember these safety tips while on foot or in your vehicle and you’ll be better prepared for emergency situations that may arise.

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Wisconsin Unions Chair Retrieval Program

By: UWPD Community Officer Tricia Meinholz

Each year, the Wisconsin Union has a number of their metal Union Chairs stolen. These chairs display a sunburst on the back of the chair and range in the following colors: yellow, blue, green, orange, red and white. The red and white chairs are available for purchase through the Wisconsin Union online here — blue chairs are given to Union donors.

union chairsThe UW-Madison Police Department has partnered with the Union in an effort to deter the theft of these chairs from the terraces, and is working on implementing new programs to cut down on the amount of chairs that are stolen every year (approx. 150 in 2012). An overnight security guard was added to the Terrace in 2013 to help reduce thefts, but chairs are still being stolen.  The cost to replace a Union chair is approximately $250.

We are asking our community members to be our extra eyes and ears on and around campus. If you see a Union chair that is green, orange, or yellow, contact the Wisconsin Union via email to report it to them. You can also contact the current Lower Campus Community Police Officer Tricia Meinholz via email to report the location of a Union chair. Anyone who supplies us with location information about a Union chair will remain anonymous.

The UW-Madison Police Department and the Wisconsin Unions thank you for your help!

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