It’s easy to take a bite out of crime

The UH Department of Safety is warning students to take precautions with their belongings to avoid becoming victims of common crimes.

"The most common crime committed on campus is theft of unattended items," UH Police Chief Malcolm Davis said. "You leave your things on a table for a few minutes, come back and (they are) gone."

On-campus theft generally occurs from visitors and is usually not a "student-on-student" crime, Davis said. UHPD recommends that students not leave any valuables in cars, but lock them in the trunk instead.

"Most criminals are looking for something to grab and run," Davis said. "So, if they see a backpack through your passenger window, or a purse left on a desk, that is what they will do."

Students are advised to be alert on campus as a way to prevent crimes, such as not sleeping at M.D. Anderson Memorial Library, where theft could easily occur when a person isn’t aware of having items stolen or leave items unattended.

"I’ve heard stories of people’s things being stolen, but only when they leave them lying around," biology sophomore Ahmed Ali said.

UHPD Officer John Evans said students should mark their belongings to determine ownership later.

"Students can have their items engraved with (a) familiar or specific number," Evans said.

Other crimes that are violent in nature, such as sexual assault, should be reported immediately.

"Victims need to report crimes, especially sexual assault cases, as soon as possible," Davis said. "Often, the suspect’s attorney will try to use the victim’s delay in reporting a crime in the suspect’s favor."

In 2005, UH had 15 violent crimes reported, along with three sexual assault reports, according to the FBI.

UHPD offers 12-hour rape-aggression defense class divided over a period of days to teach female students how to protect themselves. Class schedules has not been announced yet.

To contact the UH Police Department during an emergency, call (713) 743-3333. The number for non-emergencies is (713) 743-0600.

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