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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Crime

Students lead UHPD around campus to better security


At first glance, students may have thought that the police lights and crowds Tuesday night were from a crime scene, but instead it was an event hoping to prevent one.

Students, faculty, and UHPD were gathered together for the annual Walk in the Dark around the campus as part of National Night Out.

“This walk is for the students to point out what makes them feel uncomfortable,” UH Chief of Police Malcolm Davis said. “If I’m walking in the dark as an officer in uniform carrying a gun and don’t feel safe, we have bigger issues to take care of.”

Davis pointed out that it is the students’ responsibility to help officers, who may themselves feel safe, see what areas could be potentially dangerous to a student walking alone at night.

Students and faculty split into five groups with UHPD who took them around the campus on separate routes. Students pointed out lights that are out and areas or places that make them feel unsafe at night. The results of the walk will go to the Student Government Association, who makes sure all the necessary improvements are made throughout the campus.

One route, the green route, took a bus around the exterior of the campus with several faculty members and UHPD. One officer, Richard Storemski, has spent 36 years as an officer at UH and was more than helpful throughout the route by calling out building names and pointing out safety features during the drive.

Another officer on the route, Joe Mendez, director of emergency management, spoke highly of the campus safety and Davis.

“He really pushes his staff, and I think that’s rare,” he said. This is Mendez’s first semester at UH, but has experience with 18 years of police work. He pointed out many safety features on the campus throughout the route such as the 24 hour manned parking lot kiosks with direct radio access to UHPD.

The walk was started a few years ago to help students show police officers where they feel most unsafe walking around the campus after dark. Many adjustments made to the campus are a direct response from this event such as brighter parking lot lights instead of yellow bulbs, parking lot kiosks and labeled light posts so that students can tell officers what lights are out.

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