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Recent break-in attempt heightens security fears


By Holly Wells
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 2, 2005
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Simple tips should be obeyed to ensure safety, police say

A UA student told police earlier this week that someone tried to break into her campus-area apartment.

Police were handing out whistles for the Whistle Stop for Safety program, a joint police effort to prevent crime by informing students of safety tips, when the student approached them, said Sgt. Ron Zimmerling, Tucson Police Department.

Zimmerling said the student told him she was in her apartment this weekend on the 1400 block of North Park Avenue around 3 a.m. when she heard someone trying to get in.

The student said she was scared but hadn't been able to see anyone so she did not call police, Zimmerling said.

FIVE SAFETY TIPS

1- Lock all doors
2- Lock all windows and repair any broken
screens
3- Leave lights on inside to avoid the appearance of an empty home
4- Don't open the door to strangers or unknown delivery services
5- Call 911 as soon as you feel threatened

Source: UAPD

The student was right to have all of her doors and windows locked, but should have called police to report the suspicious activity, Zimmerling said.

"Leaving your doors unlocked is like an invitation for someone to go in," Zimmerling said. "If you think someone is trying to break in, even if you're not sure, you should call 911 right away."

Sgt. Eugene Mejia, UAPD spokesman, said students need to always be alert, always lock their doors and not hesitate to call police if something seems wrong.

"We want the campus community to know that there is a potential for situations like this to occur on and off campus," he said.

In November there were a string of burglaries and a rape in the area north of campus. In most of these instances the perpetrators were able to get in through unlocked doors and windows.

Zimmerling said police want to prevent such incidents from happening again by telling students what to do in break-in situations.

Zimmerling said the Whistle Stop program has been successful in teaching students safety tips, but said students need to realize how critical it is to obey these tips.

Mandi Boykin, an ecology and evolutionary biology senior, said she feels safe at home because she keeps everything locked and is aware of her surroundings.

Boykin said she wouldn't know what to do if someone was trying to break in and would probably just try to keep the person out.



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