Twenty seven (27) consecutive years are perhaps the longest run any winner has had in this arena. Twenty seven times the Governor’s Crime Prevention Training Awards group has saluted Towson University’s public safety programs for outstanding efforts. And as an observer pointed out, when you win again and again it is not for the same old thing. It’s because you have improved the product. Otherwise there is nothing new to salute.
The top category in the awards program is the “Governor’s Crime Prevention Award for Law Enforcement Agencies.” This covers all types of crime prevention agencies in every county of the State of Maryland, from the Aberdeen Proving Ground Police Department, to the Howard County Police Department, the Johns Hopkins University Campus Safety and Security Department, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Each entity has the primary obligation to enhance the personal protection of its constituents in efficient ways. On a campus like TU – with roughly 25,000 faculty, staff and students — that is a lot of education and instruction in the safety measures of crime prevention. Each year that TU has been recognized represents an increased teaching effort and measurable improvement in the amount and quality of equipment. In the last category, for instance, we have greatly increased the number of CCTV cameras used throughout the campus as well as the number of blue light emergency phones.
TUPD gives Personal Safety presentations throughout the year. Some of these presentations are available online and can be visited and re-visited. They are suitable both for students and for senior members of the community who need to learn many of the same things: campus geography; the challenges of a 24-hour environment; and how to get safely to far-flung parking lots at night. There is a lot to learn in the midst of a quasi-urban environment that can be penetrated from all points of the compass.
TUPD continues to provide its “Operation Keep Safe” program that is designed to teach emergency preparedness, shelter in place and evacuation procedures. A sexual assault awareness program is reviewed and updated frequently to remain in sync with the times. RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) training courses are provided twice a year so women have the opportunity to learn aggressive self-defense.
On a more practical level, TU’s Online Property Registration has been in place for almost two years and has been heavily utilized by faculty, staff and students. This new program has brought more recognition to TU, receiving the Governor’s Crime Prevention Awards, dubbed an “outstanding proactive crime prevention program.” It is a free registration program for important possessions like laptops, cell phones, bicycles, iPads/iPods, textbooks, jewelry, games and other expensive equipment, and helps to recover such items should they be stolen. The serial numbers can be run through the National Crime Information Center and regional pawn shop databases. This increases the chance of tracing and recovering stolen property.
Twenty seven years of striving for more and better safety efforts has added luster to TU’s reputation through the Governor’s Crime Prevention Awards program. But the most important asset it has offered is increased safety and comfort for the 25,000 people who occupy our 328 acres.