Tips for Smart Security Awareness on Campus

Written by Susan Helmick, Graduate Assistant for the Graduate College

A man in a white hoodie pressing against a window.

In a perfect world, crime would not exist. In the real world, however, taking steps to remain aware of our surroundings and make good choices can go a long way to ensuring our security, whether on or off campus. Ahead of National Crime Prevention Week September 1-7, we asked Lieutenant David Brinker, with University of Cincinnati’s Community Engagement Unit, about how he came to work at UC, his top recommendations for being safety smart, and how best to access UC Public Safety community services and resources. 

Q: How long have you worked in law enforcement and what do you appreciate most about working here at University of Cincinnati? 

I have worked in law enforcement for approximately 22 years.  After graduating from college with a degree in accounting and working in the field for a couple of years I decided I wanted to work in public service.  I specifically chose law enforcement to help people, be of service, and to make a positive difference to the lives of others.  The best part of working for UC is working in a diverse and transient community to serve others.  Most of our residents are here to achieve goals to enhance their quality of life and the lives of others.  In addition, we have a lot of interesting, special events on campus from athletics to the arts that attract even more individuals to campus.

Q: What are your top recommendations regarding student safety as they begin the semester, especially those who are new to UC or the U.S., and how can they improve security awareness?

Become familiar with your environment and be aware of your surroundings, especially if you are new to campus. Being on campus is fun and generally safe, but it is easy to gain a false sense of security.  Do not allow technology to make you unaware of your surroundings. Use the “buddy” system when walking at night, whenever possible, or utilize the Bearcat Guardian app's safety timer. Utilize locks, whether it’s your bike, car, or residence.  It is easy to become relaxed. Do not let someone you do not know into a secured space, such as a residence hall or apartment building. Unfortunately, there are always opportunists looking to take advantage of others, so have a plan when attending social gatherings to ensure you get home safely. Trust your gut instincts, if it does not feel right, remove yourself from the situation and report suspicious activity. We would rather investigate a thousand things that end up being nothing, than not to have received information that may been helpful. UC Public Safety is here to help.

Q: What is the best way for students to report security concerns or ask questions, and how can they get more involved with campus security efforts?

There are many avenues to report security concerns and/or ask questions. If you have an emergency call 911; for non-emergencies, program UC Public Safety’s non-emergency number into your phone: 513-556-1111.  Utilize the Bearcat Guardian app.; you can use it to enhance communication with UC Public Safety.  It allows the ability to submit anonymous information in the form of text or photos.  Reach out to UC Public Safety’s Community Engagement Team on our website, we would love to hear from you about ways to collaborate to provide a safe, secure, and accommodating environment.