Police department introduces theft-prevention program

This an example of the cards that are placed near people’s belongings that are left unattended. The “Help Us Help You" cards are to remind students to responsibility keep any eye on their things so they are not stolen Photo credit: Stephanie Reyes

The Baylor Police Department introduced a new program called “Help Us Help You,” this year that will help students and members of the Baylor community keep their belongings safe on campus.

Baylor Police Chief Brad Wigtil said the program was introduced to the campus because the police department saw that many students would get so focused on their studies in the library, they would often leave possessions unattended.

“They’ll be in the library and they’ll leave their laptop or their purse and they’ll go to Starbucks for coffee or for a break, they might leave it there for five minutes and they come back and their laptop and purse is gone,” Wigtil said. “It’s just devastating.”
Wigtil said this program was also created in hopes to reduce the opportunity for crime on Baylor’s campus.

“There’s three ways you can stop crime. You can address the socio-economic issues that cause crime, you can increase police presence and remove the opportunity to do the crime,” Wigtil said.

According to the main campus crime and fire log, there have been approximately 10 cases of theft in the month of October, many of which have been stolen bicycles throughout Baylor’s campus.

Wigtil said, if someone is studying at the library alone and have to leave for whatever reason, they should ask a person studying next to them to watch their stuff.

“Ask the person at the next table, ‘hey I need to take a quick break. You mind watching my stuff?’” Wigtil said. “People don’t want to do that because we’re shy or it’s foreign to us, but its such a great thing to do.”

As part of the program, police officers from the department will be leaving green and white “help us help you” business cards if they see a student has left unattended items or if faculty and staff members leave their office doors open.

“We might just slip them this card as a kind reminder please ‘help us help you’ by securing your property,” Wigtil said. “So [leaving the cards] is just a little reminder to everybody saying please help us by removing those opportunities.”

Crime Prevention coordinator specialist Kandy Knowles said the police department has various programs in place to be reactive or recover items, but it is always better for the community to go out and just be proactive.

“We may be able to recover your laptop but it will be after the paper is due, after your final,” Knowles said. “We just want to be proactive and help empower our students to have control over their situations and their stuff.”

Wigtil said if a student finds that their property is stolen or missing to call the police department immediately.

“With some of the electronics, if they’re on AirBear there are some mechanisms we can do to recover electronic items,” Wigtil said.

Wigtil said one of the ways students can benefit from this program is by knowing
“I’m hoping that we can teach these lessons and it can help their personal safety though their whole lifetime,” Wigtil said.

Knowles added that police officers can’t be everywhere at all times. So, the police department wants to empower students and give them the tools to use on an everyday basis.

“It lays down the foundation, they think, ‘not only am I going to take care of my personal items, I’m going to take care of myself as well,’” Knowles said.