Some Students Feel Safer at San Jose State University with Police Escorts

The overall safety at San Jose State University on a daily basis can be summed up in two words: "very safe," according to University Police Sgt. John Laws.

"For the most part I feel okay walking alone to and from class," said Christian Omphroy, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering.

Omphroy said that his only encounter with a criminal situation on campus occurred when his roommate had his cell phone stolen.

When he and his roommate called the missing cell phone the guy on the other end of the line asked for money in exchange for the phone, Omphroy said. The two students then alerted the University Police Department who apprehended the suspect.

"We do a good job at catching them and writing reports," said Laws, who has been with UPD since 1988 and a sergeant since 1996.

The UPD uses 34 sworn police officers, Laws said. Five UPD officers are on duty per shift to patrol the 154-acre campus of SJSU 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Sophomore Jessica Jones, majoring in history, who lives in Campus Village, said she felt reassured when she saw police officers patrolling around the library.

"Since I wasn't doing anything wrong it was nice to see," Jones said.

Along with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, which has two UPD officers assigned to it, Campus Village is a high impact area, an area that Laws said is patrolled frequently.
Last semester there was a spree of auto burglaries in the Campus Village parking garage. Laws said in a situation like that the UPD begins a directed patrol in the area, which increases the presence of police officers, while a "comprehensive investigation" is underway.

Over time as the disturbance subsides the UPD goes back to their normal patrol procedures.

The weekly crime blotter that appears on the UPD Web site shows that the UPD also receives calls to Campus Village for complaints that range from tampering with fire equipment to drug possession. Christian Garrucho, a junior majoring in chemistry, says that he feels safe on campus for the most part and he welcomes the site of the blue light poles.

"It is reassuring to see the blue phones around just in case I need it," Garrucho said.
The blue phones are located all around campus and are there for quick access to the UPD. All a student has to do is press the button located on the pole to place a call that directly connects them to University Police dispatch.

The UPD Annual Safety Report indicates that individuals can use the phones to report an emergency or suspicious activity and request an escort to and from buildings on campus.
"I heard about the escort thing but I don't know how to get it," said Cleary McTeague, a freshman majoring in business.

The escort service that the UPD offers, allows students to request an escort from classroom buildings to their next destination.

The UPD will send an escort to meet the student at the entrance of the building and walk them to where they need to go, Laws said. The service also extends two blocks off of campus.

McTeague, who lives on campus, said she also feels safe on campus, except at night.
"I make sure that I walk with more than one other person walking across campus at night," McTeague said. "My dad always told me to use the buddy system."

Students are encouraged to report crimes they witness, or are victims of, Laws said.
"We ask students to come to us and let us know," Laws said. "Someone has to point it out for us to do something about it."
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