Police offer advice on staying safe

When students settle into their residences, complying with the saying “out of sight, out of mind” is the safest way to go. Students should not leave valuables in plain sight because it increases the chance of criminals breaking in and stealing them.

PREVENTION

Though iPods can make the walk between classes more enjoyable, don’t tune the world out. Obey traffic laws and be aware of your surroundings.

Never walk alone at night and remain in well-lit areas. If you find yourself alone, call Safewalks at (217) 333-1216 to walk with a buddy or Saferides at (217) 265-7433 to receive a ride home. Both are free of charge.

The amount of University crime spikes between midnight and 3 a.m., just as the bars close. Watch your alcohol intake and stick with a friend when you’re out on the town.

REACTION

If you witness suspicious activity, don’t be shy to notify the police. In many crimes, neighbors will say they saw something funny prior to the incident but didn’t report it. Look out for yourself and others.

If you are the victim of a crime, report it immediately. In many cases, even just a day or two diminishes the police’s chances of catching the criminal.

New technology helps fight crime

Students will soon be able to view the location and types of crime activity that occur in their neighborhoods with the help of Champaign’s new website Crimemapping.com.

The website will provide people with crime data, which can be filtered to show information within a certain radius, said Lt. Joe Gallo. Individuals can select the type of crimes they would like displayed, such as burglaries, motor vehicle thefts or battery.

“If you have a residence, you will be able to put in your (location) to see if there’s a crime within a quarter-of-a-mile of the residence,” he said.

Additionally, the website would allow users to sign up for e-mail alerts, which would notify them when a crime occurred within their selected neighborhood.

The ball began rolling for the website after the department received a 12-month state grant, Gallo said. It covered the website’s mapping software, CrimeView, costing $57,165 and an “intelligence analyst” position’s salary costing $41,098 and $52,481 per year.

He said the department does not know when the website will be launched. However, it is currently speaking with the University and Urbana police deparments about possibly bringing this technology to them.

“I think it’s going to help by making students more aware of their surroundings and any crime that’s going on in the campus community,” Gallo said.