As many of you know, I have been with the University since 1983. I started here with only 15 members in our department and virtually no electronic security systems. Today, I am happy to be among over two hundred members of the Public Safety Department, some of the greatest people I know and a pleasure to work with. Our security systems have expanded into some of the most sophisticated in the industry. We now manage more than 1,000 online card readers, over 1,800 video surveillance cameras, and nearly 5,000 standalone battery powered locks that operate with your ID badges. I am truly thankful to be a part of it all.
Over the years and still today, one of our greatest challenges is theft. Whether it is theft of wallets, purses, or phones from unlocked and unattended area or phishing of personal information, the threats are real and those responsible are relentless. It is with this in mind that I appeal to our community for help.
As many of you have learned the hard way, a theft can occur when you are least expecting it. Individuals dressed professionally carrying a folder or wearing lab coat can conform to the surroundings. These individuals are bold, confident and prepared. Such individuals have been observed in unattended offices searching through desk drawers. If approached, they pretend that someone else is helping them or to be using your phone and looking in the desk for a pen to take a note. In one case, an individual walked into a waiting room and instructed a patient to go to the dressing area and change into a gown. The individual left with the patient’s handbag while the patient was changing. Employees have been victimized after leaving their area unlocked and unattended for only a few minutes while going to the copy room or restroom. Others have been tricked into giving out passwords to callers pretending to work for Information Technology or Employee Benefits. Please be alert and do not fall victim to scams; these individuals are true professionals in their business.
For any public safety program to be effective, all employees must participate. Be alert and report unusual or suspicious activity! Don’t allow people to roam around unattended! Ask if you can help. If they decline or act nervous, notify public safety at 243-6000. Report thefts immediately. And remember, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a complete stranger who takes your belongings. It could be a legitimate visitor, or delivery person as an example. Don’t announce to everyone in your work area that you are going to the ATM or Credit Union to get money. Do not carry large amounts of cash. If you do, carry it separate from your daily spending money and do not leave it in your purse or backpack unattended.
Today we also face the bombardment of electronic scams that cross our computers each day trying to sell us something or con us out of our personal information. The bottom line, if you don’t know the person it is coming from don’t open it and certainly don’t click on any links provided in the communications. Another good but simple test is if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. In many cases, these electronic documents feature logos from our creditors and banks and look very realistic. But in most cases, they are not. Simply do not open or reply to unsolicited electronic material.
If we work together, we can prevent many of our losses. Please feel free to contact us at any time. Our staff and I look forward to serving you however we can.