By Laura Ingalls

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Common sense is key to protecting oneself from becoming a victim of campus crime, university police say.

Students sometimes mistakenly believe the university is free of crime, said Harry Hueston II, deputy chief of the University of Arizona Police Department. Book and bike thefts are common in the first and last two weeks of school, he said.

Theft and burglary are the two most prevalent and preventable crimes on campus, Sgt. Brian Seastone said.

Police recorded 456 cases of bike theft last year. Another 811 thefts and burglaries were reported to university police.

Reporting suspicious persons to police, purchasing a quality lock and registering bicycles with Parking and Transporttation (at no charge) are some ways students can deter successful bicycle theft, Seastone said. Although U-locks are commonly used to lock bicycles, they are not invicible, especially if bikes are not locked to a stationary object.

"When you lock up a bike to itself, it allows me to pick it up and take it home to work on the lock," he said.

Marking books with one's first initial, last name and student identification number on pages throught the text give police and bookstore employees a means of identification when thieves sell back books, Hueston said.

Students often fail to lock doors to their residences, allowing thefts to take place easily, Hueston said. Already, one case of a man seen trying doors in the southwest residence halls was reported early Wednesday, he said.

Thefts most often occur near the southwest area residence halls, library and Student Union, all high-traffic areas, Seastone said. Also, long weekends and vacations give thieves ample time to steal when students abandon campus, he said. Alcohol-related incidents rank second after thefts as common campus offenses, UAPD records show. Alcohol is involved in nearly 99 percent of all sexual-assault cases reported on campus, Seastone said.

Campus and county police are combining to combat the "mass binge drinking contest" that typically occurs during the first weekend of school. Twelve additional UAPD officers and 40 Pima County DUI task force officers will patrol campus this weekend to ensure state liquor laws are followed, Hueston said.

"They're [illegal partiers] going to have a reality check on Friday," he said. "This is to ensure this is a safe environment and that in our community people are acting responsibly.''

Planning to walk in groups and in well-lighted areas reduces the possibility of assault, Seastone said. Devices that call attention to the scene, such as whistles, can also be helpful for those who walk alone, he said.

The blue-lighted emergency phones, placed throughout campus, only need to be knocked off their carriers for police to respond to the location. In addition, the department's 911 service also has an automatic caller identification and locator device.

"Overall, we have a relatively safe campus," Seastone said.

Some campus safety resources include:

¨Escort Service: A free ride service for students who do not want to walk in the university area between Broadway Boulevard and Grant Road at night. The service operates Sunday through Thursday, 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Call 621-SAFE.

¨Parking and Transportation: The department offers a free motorist-assist program on campus. Services include unlocking vehicles, providing tire sealant and jump-starting batteries. Call 621-AUTO.

¨University police are available to run safety programs for organizations and campus residences. Call Sgt. Seastone at 621-UAPD for more information. Read Next Article