The dog days of summer

By Kristin Nikonetz

August was a slow month for Campus Security, but property loss drastically increased since August 1999.

"Generally quiet months begin the year," said Campus Security Manager Lanny Fritz. "Theft is the biggest crime we have on campus."

Laptop computers are a prized target for thieves. On Aug. 7, a university laptop, worth an estimated $5,141, was taken.

"We’ll lose about half a million in property a year, but over half of that will not be to the university, but to the students," said Fritz.

"At the beginning of the school year, staff and students should be reminded the easy potential of theft of laptop computers. When not in use, they should be properly secured in a locked cabinet or locked office. Most laptops get stolen from open offices and in full view of people walking by in hallways. Laptops get stolen even when people momentarily leave their workstation for a washroom break."

Sometimes Campus Security responds to off-campus situations until the police arrive and take charge. An individual was robbed at the Brentwood LRT platform by two people but the unharmed victim contacted Campus Security in time for the police to capture the suspects.

Other calls security responds to are not predictable. Campus Security was the first to arrive at an accident involving an off-campus vehicle and a pedestrian. Campus Security supported the Calgary police after they arrived on the scene.

"If we are the first to respond, we do two things," Fritz explained. "First, we comfort the injured, call for an ambulance and do necessary first aid. Secondly, we stand back and assist the police."

August taught that innocent events can quickly turn out to be scary. Emergency Medical Services quickly responded to a wounded German wrestler who was competing during an international competition held in the Jack Simpson Gymnasium. The wrestler injured his neck and spinal cord; EMS transported the injured individual to hospital.

The abuse of free university resources caused problems in August for Campus Security as well. Library staff had re-occurring problems with non-students using the library’s resources for long periods of time and/or staying in the building for warmth or comfort. Campus Security takes care of the individuals, who sometimes verbally abuse the staff and students, by asking them to leave and filing a suspicious person report. If that individual reappears or has problems leaving, an appropriate course of action will take place.

"Usually you just ask them to leave, and they leave without hesitation," Fritz explained.

Every once in awhile security hears the call of the wild. Two dead fox pups, killed by unknown person(s), were found in the greenhouse area. This type of discovery was "quite unique, alarming and disturbing," said Fritz.

Occasionally Campus Security receives calls from individuals contemplating suicide. Fritz offered some advice on how to help an individual considering suicide.

"Try to give them assurance that you’re there to listen and to help," he said . "Try to build a level of trust; find out their name and location. Ask if they have harmed themself. As soon as possible call 911 or emergency services."

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