Police chief stresses safety

Input from students, faculty and staff is vital to making UH a safer campus, UH Police Chief Malcolm Davis said Wednesday at the Student Government Association Town Hall meeting.

"The main thing we need help on from the whole UH community is to be our eyes and ears," he said. "One person can’t watch 470 cameras all at once. You have to decide what looks suspicious or unusual and let us know."

College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Sen. and Speaker Pro Tem Kelly Evans said the meeting was called to address student concerns about increased campus crime.

"The event was organized because we’ve had a lot of e-mails and concerns about criminal acts," Evans said. "We wanted to show students the chief would be able to address the issue of crime on campus."

The 2007 Clery Report showed a rise in criminal acts at UH from 2006, including sexual offenses, burglaries and robberies.

At the meeting Davis addressed student questions about the locations of security cameras on campus and what the police department termed sexual harassment.

"(In 2007) the No. 1 crime was property reports, but people take other crimes like sexual assault and vehicle theft for granted after seeing that," Davis said. "Last year we had 10 cases of sexual assault, four of which were true rapes. The victim knew the attacker in three of those cases."

The campus is stocked with 470 cameras, including infrared cameras at all parking lot entrances to allow a clear view of license plates in any lighting, Davis said.

Davis said the UH Department of Public Safety strives to educate students and faculty about choices in terms of staying safe on campus, but part of being safe is staying informed and up-to-date on the latest crime reports.

Davis said students and staff can stay informed about campus crime by accessing the annual security report, prepared by the UH Student Affairs Division in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The report breaks down all documented crimes for the last three calendar years by category, location and year.

Knowing areas of high-crime concentration is a smart way of staying aware and safe for students and faculty, Davis said.

A campus map marked with points where crime occurred can be obtained at

"The map is very helpful, but just because there’s no reported crime in an area, doesn’t mean you can’t worry about it," he said.

Students and teachers in night classes have to be especially careful and should either take shuttles, which run until 11 p.m., or park as close to class and a light post as possible, Davis said.

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