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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UAPD seeks student aid

    From recent area sexual assaults to bike theft, University of Arizona Police Department officials say that crime prevention is always on their radar.

    “”Our department constantly evaluates situations that occur across the nation,”” said Sgt. Eugene Mejia. “”We ask ourselves, ‘What could we better do to deter potential incidents that are of that type?’ “”

    Mejia said that UAPD does everything it can to prevent theft and violent crimes on campus.

    “”If there is a person who is bent on committing a violent act on campus, and he never tells anyone and never acts suspicious, those types of acts can never be prevented,”” Mejia said. “”We want our students to let us know there is someone intent on that.””

    Mejia made some suggestions about where to travel on campus so students can prevent becoming victims of violent crime on campus. They included avoiding areas that lack “”activity support,”” such as other people, busy streets or lighting.

    “”In comparison to surrounding areas, you will find that the campus is like an oasis when it comes to violent crime,”” Mejia said, “”but we don’t want our students to lull themselves into a false sense of security.””

    While Mejia said UAPD will promote safety efforts as much as possible, he added, “”We want our students to be totally prepared in case something does happen.””

    Zach Nicolazzo, a violence prevention specialist with Campus Health Service’s OASIS Program, helps organize self-defense classes for students, staff and faculty.

    The Rape Aggression Defense System is a national program taught by certified instructors and is designed specifically for women. OASIS will be offering RADS courses in September and October for a small nominalfee, Nicolazzo said. Once women attend one of the courses, they can continue to come back for free booster courses.

    Nicolazzo said he thinks violent-crime prevention also comes from discussing physical and sexual assault, rather than ignoring it.

    “”The less we talk about it, the more we kind of push it off and it’s not on our radar screens,”” he said.

    Mejia said UAPD works closely with other departments, such as the Tucson Police Department and the Pima County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and have recently signed an agreement with Master Lock.

    UAPD sells steering wheel locks and bicycle locks at a reduced cost from the police station, 1852 E. First St., near the corner of East Speedway Boulevard and North Campbell Avenue. Steering wheel locks cost $10 and bike locks cost $13.

    “”We don’t make a whole lot of profit on the sale of these locks,”” Mejia said. “”Our purpose is to supply low-cost crime prevention tools to our staff, students and community.””

    The bike locks sold are of the “”U”” style, which Mejia said is a better deterrent against theft.

    Cable locks can easily be defeated by small hand tools, and are harder for UAPD officers to see in the hands of thieves, he said.

    Mejia said the “”Watch Your Car”” program also helps prevent vehicle theft.

    Once a vehicle is registered with UAPD, particular stickers applied authorize police to stop the car to verify that the driver of the vehicle is the owner.

    Mejia also suggested drivers lock doors and windows and place personal items out of sight.

    Students and staff can report suspicious activity to UAPD, TPD and the dean of students. In the case of sexual assault or relationship violence, OASIS can also be contacted.

    “”We as community members say, ‘I don’t want to get involved, someone else will take care of it,’ “” Nicolazzo said. “”But we’re all Wildcats together, and we need to look out for each other’s best interests.””

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