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Protect yourself – DPS says prevention is key

Lori Cox and Lori Cox

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Anyone can be a victim of crime – anywhere – even on a campus as safe as NKU.

On Aug. 27, Department of Public Safety officers responding to a report of sexual assault at the Woodcrest Apartments. – Oak.

According to DPS reports, a woman told officers she had been sexually assaulted by a man she met earlier in the evening. Chief, Jeff Butler of DPS said the woman alleged, “the guy attempted to force himself upon her.”

DPS officers were at the same dorm earlier that morning responding to complaints that a large group of men were fighting in the open circle area. According to the alleged assault victim,the fight was in response to the attack on her.

The previous day, Aug. 26, a woman reported that her daughter was physically assaulted by two males, resulting in injury to her lip.

According to Chief Butler, these incidents are not typical of Northern. In actuality, the crime rate at NKU is very low. However, this can change at any time, he said.

“I like to think we have an extremely safe campus but, there is still a need for caution. We don’t want to take any chances with personal safety,” Chief Butler said.

The best way to ensure personal safety and prevent crime is to “understand that it can happen to you,” according to Michael Tussey, administrative commander of DPS.

Mr. Tussey has a long history of promoting crime prevention, first as a police officer in Ashland, Ky. and now as a DPS administrator at NKU.

Mr. Tussey said prevention is all about anticipating risk and initiating action to remove or reduce the risk.

“I believe in crime prevention, I really do,” he said.

However, “most people don’t care about crime prevention until they, or someone close to them, becomes a victim,” Mr. Tussey said.

He believes that “apathy is crime’s greatest ally,”

Mr. Tussey contends that once people – men and women – accept that they are at risk, good crime prevention techniques will follow.

So, instead of waiting for yourself or a loved one to become a victim to care about crime prevention, Mr. Tussey urges people to be proactive.

“It’s not rocket science…use common sense,” Mr. Tussey said.

Too often, people are preoccupied and in a hurry. They leave doors unlocked, valuables in plain sight, or ignore suspicious activity and, unthinkingly, leave themselves and others wide open to attack.

A couple techniques to keep in mind are to always be aware of your surroundings; stay alert and observant and get involved; report suspicious activity.

The numerous calls to DPS reporting the fight on Aug. 27 is an example of proactive crime prevention. Mr. Tussey explains, “we want students to do that.” “The dedication of officers, faculty and students contribute to safety,” he said.

Safety of all members of the campus community is the top priority of the DPS. The officers are fully trained policemen with county-wide jurisdiction.

“When crime does happen, we address it and take action. DPS is right on top of it,” Mr. Tussey said.

However, education and prevention are also a priority.

The DPS employs cadets (student officers) to be the eyes and ears of campus. The cadets are also involved it an escort service provided by DPS and sponsored by the Student Government Association.

There are handouts available throughout campus and there are outreach programs throughout the year with topics ranging from alcoholic abuse to personal safety.

On Sept. 9, Mr. Tussey will lead a Public Safety Presentation in the Otto M. Budig Theatre at 11 a.m. The presentation, sponsored by Phi Beta Sigma, will be an interactive program to discuss crime prevention and to bring an understanding of what DPS is, what it does and how it can help members of the campus community.

For more information on the Public Safety Presentation, crime prevention or DPS, visit www.access.nku.edu/dps.

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Protect yourself – DPS says prevention is key