By: Kristen Zdon, Staff Writer
Five public service announcements were released last week to inform students how to stay safe in the Towson community, according to Towson University Police Department Captain Karen Johnson.
“A couple years ago, there was some concern in the community about off campus crimes taking place and we wanted to introduce something that would give students a guideline; basic street sense,” Johnson said. “Things that you can do and steps that you can take to just reduce your chances of being a victim of crime.”
The videos include common crime concerns, such as property, pedestrian and residence hall safety, according to Johnson. The Police Department recruited students around campus to participate in the videos.
Junior communication studies major Leah Franklin was featured in the street sense video.
“I participated because I wanted to show students how to be safe on campus,” Franklin said. “Students should watch out for each other and care about how everyone in their group gets home. These safety videos give great tips on how to do that successfully.”
TUPD Colonel Joe Herring said the videos are a part of a larger crime prevention project that TUPD and the Office of Public Safety have been working on revamping and evaluating.
“I’m happy to say that this year our reported crime on campus was down again significantly,” Herring said. “That’s doing large success because the community buys into our crime prevention programs; they take them seriously, they take their safety seriously and they work well with us.”
Johnson said the videos were approached using humor because of the collaborative agreement of students and staff from different departments involved with the project.
“[The videos are] not heavy handed or overbearing, [students] are not being preached to about safety, but if you add a little bit of fun or whimsy to the message, they just enjoy it and still walk away with the message you are trying to send,” Johnson said.
In addition, Doc was featured to add a light-hearted approach, according to Project Manager of the TU Center for Professional Studies Laura McCoy.
“The best part of filming was definitely spending two full days on campus with Doc. You can’t help but have a smile on your face when you walk around a college campus with the mascot,” McCoy said.
Johnson said that they are looking for student feedback on this video, especially through their Facebook page.
“Not only do we want attention, but we want retention. We want people to remember what we showed and if they just take a piece of it, and they remember it at that critical moment when they are about to make that decision that could make them a victim or not,” Herring said.