[Fresh] Public Safety Interview

Kelly Eastland (kelly.eastland@villanova.edu)
Fri, 19 Apr 2002 16:49:20 -0400

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Interview with Debbie Patch, The Office of Public Safety

Fresh@News: As the semester winds down, do you have any safety tips for
students?

D.P. During this time of the year, many students get into a comfortable
mode and become less cautious with their belongings. As the weather
gets nicer, more students will begin to keep their doors open and
unlocked. We encourage students to remember some of the basic safety
tips, so they can avoid being victims to crime. For example, resident
students should not prop open the doors to the buildings, they should
keep their doors shut and locked when they are out of the room, and also
they should never leave their belongings (such as laptops and backpacks)
unattended in open areas. These are simple things that most students
are already doing.

Fresh@News: Often, parents are interested in the health and safety of
their students on campus. Can you tell me a little about how the Office
of Public Safety creates a safe environment?

D.P. Our department performs the daily patrol of the campus. The goal
of the department is to educate students about personal safety and crime
prevention. We have an anonymous tip line for students who witness
crimes such as vandalism on campus. The tip line has been helpful in
identifying the culprit in many cases. The Public Safety website is a
great resource for students and parents. Students can find information
and online forms on the site, in addition to the campus crime
statistics.

Fresh@News: You talked about safety in the residence halls. Does the
Public Safety work with Residence Life staff?

D.P. Each year, our office works closely with the RA staff. Currently,
we are participating in the RA training for the newly selected staff.
We will continue to work with the staff throughout the summer. During
the school year, the RA is often the primary contact person when there
is a problem in the hall. The RAs work with the housing officers that
are stationed within the buildings. As I mentioned earlier, our staff
also performs daily patrol of the campus, including the residence halls.

Fresh@News: What is a housing officer?
D.P. A housing officer is actually a Public Safety officer who monitors
visitation and maintains a fixed position in the residence halls from
10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., with the exception of the West Campus
apartments. Everyone who enters the building must show identification.
All of the female residence halls have housing offices. Many of the
co-ed residence halls also have housing officers. We also have officers
that patrol all of the residence halls during the evenings and on the
weekends.

Fresh@News: Can you tell me about the Wildcat shuttle?
D.P. The Wildcat shuttle provides on and off campus transportation for
students. The shuttle performs an on campus loop Monday through Friday
from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. There is also a daily shuttle off campus to
places such as Rosemont Square, Harcum College, and Bryn Mawr Hospital.
The shuttle runs on the weekend from noon to 8 p.m. There is also a
shuttle to the King of Prussia Mall that also operates on Fridays and
Saturdays between 6 p.m. and midnight. The shuttle service does not
operate during break periods. Students can find the shuttle schedule on
the Public Safety web site.

Fresh@News: The RAD self-defense program for women seems to be very
popular. Can you tell me more about it?
D.P. RAD is an acronym for Rape Aggression Defense. The RAD program
was started by a law enforcement office who wanted to teach women basic
self-defense techniques. The techniques are easy to remember and very
practical. The RAD program at Villanova is a series of workshops that
educate women about sexual assault and teaches them how to protect
themselves. As an instructor in the program, we talk about risk
reduction and ways to avoid risks. The women leave the program feeling
empowered and are more aware of their surroundings. The program is very
effective and the participants have the opportunity to do a real life
simulation to test their knowledge.

Fresh@News: It sounds like a great opportunity for female students. Is
there a cost for the program?
D.P. We ask for a $15 refundable deposit at the beginning of the class.
When the student completes the course, we will refund the money.

Fresh@News: Nine hours seems like a big commitment for students? How
is the attendance?
D.P. Although it may seem like a lot of time, the information these
women learn is invaluable. We are very flexible and try to work with
the students' schedules to find a time that works with everyone in the
class. Often, a group of friends will sign up together. Most recently
we had 10 women from the Villanova Dance group sign up together. They
really enjoyed the program and had nothing but positive things to say
about it.

Fresh@News: You've provided a lot of information about Public Safety.
If you had to give any advice to parents, what would you tell them?
D.P. I would encourage them to communicate with their son or daughter.
For the most part, students will make smart decisions, but an honest
mistake can impact the rest of their lives. If students see something
and are afraid to report it, I hope parents will remind them about the
anonymous tip line. Lastly, I hope that parents will check out the
Public Safety web site (www.publicsafety.villanova.edu). It has a lot
of helpful information and resources.

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