Every year, Feb. 11 is declared as Campus Safety Day, a day sponsored by the GTPD to promote personal safety and to educate students about various ways to avoid being victims of a crime. The GTPD held the event for the second time this year, following a successful event last year.
Students and faculty members present in the Student Center on last Friday, Feb. 11 saw police officers from the GTPD increasing awareness of the day. They handed out free items such as model police cars, key-chains, Frisbees and chocolates on the second floor, attracting the attention of large groups of students.
“Campus Safety Day is every day, but we try to promote it as something related to Valentine’s Day. Most departments on campus are helping us put up information on our website. There are 20,000 students and over 10,000 employees, we work for the community and it makes a big difference for us to get the word out there about campus safety,” said Alex Gutierrez, an officer in the Crime Prevention Unit.
Gutierrez was in charge of public outreach for the event. According to Gutierrez, the Campus Safety Day event is held in the Student Center in order to attract and spread awareness amongst the largest number of people possible. GTPD is now on Facebook and Twitter and helps the cause of campus safety through social media in order to access the eyes of more of the Tech community.
“Your main reason here is to go to school and get a degree. You don’t think about safety every day. That’s our job here, but we want you to keep it in mind at the back of your heads to be aware of what’s going on,” Gutierrez said.
According to Gutierrez, many students on campus are from abroad, from countries where the local police are not very favorable. Hence, they may not contact the GTPD due to their previous experiences. There are also in-state students and those from other states that may not be aware of safety procedures.
“We are trying to reintroduce the police department to let [students] know and spread the word out there about campus safety,” Gutierrez said.
This year, Director of Security and Police Chief Teresa Crocker had the idea of spreading the message through the logo of a heart in order to spread awareness in the spirit of Valentine’s Day. Campus Safety Day was promoted with the help of posters in Stinger buses and also through media documentaries broadcasted on Student Center television sets. The role of Communications & Marketing was to support the GTPD in developing its informational campaign educating students around campus about the importance of safety.
“Our creative team created messages designed the safety valentines that were used. We also helped promote the event in the Daily Digest and through our various social media channels,” said Lisa Grovenstein, director of public relations at Tech. This safety awareness effort was supported by multiple units on campus including the Department of Housing, the Parents Program, WREK and the Office of International Education.
According to the GTPD the event was held during the afternoon since a number of students cross the Student Center on their way to classes every day during these peak hours. GTPD posted the top 10 ways to avoid being a victim of a crime on the school website newsroom.
Students are advised to avoid leaving valuables unattended, to lock their cars at all times, to avoid walking alone after the dark and to always ride the Stingerette when working late among other ways to avoid crime.
Consequently, a number of students attended the event and received information on campus safety in highlight of crime that has recently occurred on campus. They got to interact with police officers from the GTPD and to learn more about the systems that are in place in order to keep everyone safe and protected.