Working Together For Safety

It is essential that faculty, students and staff assume responsibility for their own safety and preservation of personal property by taking simple, common-sense precautions. Students, staff and faculty are all partners with the university in creating a safe atmosphere that encourages learning. Crimes do sometimes occur at Texas A&M University-Commerce. While it is not likely you will become a victim of crime, it is possible. No community (including universities) can be totally free of crime, but with your help, we can drastically lower the rates at which it occurs.

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How You Can Help

  • Most instances of crime can be avoided if everyone realizes that they can become a victim, and take a few simple safety precautions.
  • Never walk alone at night-If you have to, stick to well-lit areas.
  • Always keep your room locked, even when you are there.
  • Keep a record of all your valuable property-especially serial numbers and model numbers. Download and fill out our Property ID form and turn it into the UPD. This will greatly assist detectives in recovering your property in the unlikely event that it is stolen. An engraver is available from the UPD and from Residential Living and Learning.
  • In your car, keep all valuables out of sight-lock them in your trunk. Keep your car locked and never leave your car running unattended.
  • Bicycles should be securely locked in assigned areas.
  • Report all suspicious persons or activity to the police immediately.

Programs

In order to prevent crime, various crime prevention programs are conducted each year by numerous departments on campus. These programs include topics such as:

  • Personal safety awareness
  • General Campus Safety: Offered at every summer orientation session
  • Rape prevention
  • Date rape
  • Crime prevention of burglary, theft and criminal mischief
  • Alcohol Abuse Awareness: Conducted at Lion Camp, and upon request
  • Bicycle safety
  • Project ID: An ongoing program to encourage the recording of serial numbers
  • Shots Fired: A program designed to inform students and employees on methods to survive an active shooter: Performed at every Lion Camp and every New Employee Orientation
  • Almost any topic requested

Sexual Assault

What is the difference between sexual assault and rape?

There is no difference. Sexual assault and rape both refer to sexual intercourse against the will of another person. However, under Texas law, “sexual assault,” not “rape,” is the legal term used to define and prosecute sexual acts that are not consensual. Consenting sex requires sober, verbal communication without intimidation or threats.

What is date rape?

Acquaintance assault, commonly known as “date rape,” occurs when someone you know forces you to have sexual intercourse against your will.

What can you do if you have been raped?

  • Go to a safe place.
  • Call someone you trust to be with you, like a rape crisis counselor, friend or parent.
  • Call the local or campus police.
  • Don’t shower, bathe, or douche after the attack.
  • Seek care at a hospital.
  • Preserve other physical evidence, such as clothing.
  • Consider filing charges against your attacker.

How can the University Police Department help me if I am a victim?

Reporting an assault does not mean that the victim must press charges or take the case to criminal trial or a university disciplinary hearing. If the assault occurred on campus, UPD will take you to the hospital and will arrange for a rape crisis counselor to be with you at all stages of the investigation. If you prefer anonymity, UPD can report the crime under a pseudonym and the crime will be prosecuted without revealing your name. Even if a victim has not decided whether to press charges, calling the police and going to the hospital will allow for his/her emotional or medical needs to be cared for and will preserve the option of the victim to press charges.

Other Resources

Crisis Center of Northeast Texas
P.O. Box 8692 Greenville, TX 75404-8692

903.454.9999 or METRO: 903.450.1005 and 1.800.656.HOPE.

The Crisis Center of Northeast Texas serves Hunt, Hopkins, Rains, Rockwall and Kaufman counties.

Remember, sexual assault is a crime and victims should not feel ashamed about the actions of a rapist. If you feel victimized, talking with a counselor or friend can help you understand your feelings. You don’t have to be alone.

Burglary and Theft Prevention

Mark Your Property

Mark your valuables with an engraver. Marking your property serves as a deterrent to would-be burglars and it helps police identify and return stolen property. Make a property identification list. Put warning stickers on doors and windows.

If you have a computer mark not only the serial numbers but ascertain its “MAC” address if you have a network interface card. Write this down in a safe place and store it with your serial numbers. For more information, call the CTIS Help Desk at 903.468.6000.

Leave a Light On

When leaving on trips, leave a light on in the bathroom. In the bedroom, attach a lamp and radio to a 24-hour electric timer set to go on at dusk and off at your bedtime. Close bedroom drapes or blinds.

Work Together With Your Neighbors

When you are going to be away, tell trusted neighbors and ask them to watch your property. Have neighbors maintain your yard. When on vacation, have someone cut grass. Shrubbery should not hide neighbors’ view of windows or doors. Have someone pick up newspapers and mail. Tell neighbors to call police if they notice anything suspicious.

Theft Prevention Tips

  • Don’t leave your books or purse unattended, even if only for a second.
  • Write your name someplace hidden in each of your books, this will help the UPD recover the book.
  • Engrave all your valuable goods. (Engraver is available at UPD)
  • Know what type of hardware is in your computer-most computer thieves know how to strip a computer down and sell the components.

Telephone Harassment

Repetitive hang-ups, anonymous obscene phone calls and threatening e-mail messages are all examples of harassment, the most common of which is telephone harassment.

Harassment is defined as an offense with the intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment or embarrass by telephone or writing. Harassment is also a communication which is obscene or threatening.

Individuals who receive harassing, annoying or threatening telephone calls are encouraged to contact the Police for assistance. Maintaining a telephone log that documents the dates and times of calls will be helpful in determining what measures the police may pursue.

Harassment is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail.

Vehicles

Over 1 million vehicles are stolen every year nationwide. In the time it takes you to read this web page, nine cars will be stolen!

Protect Your Vehicle

  • Lock your car and pocket the key when you leave—even if it’s just for a minute. Close the windows and make sure the trunk is locked.
  • Control your keys. Never leave an identification tag on your key ring. If your keys are lost or stolen, it could help a thief locate your car and burglarize your home.
  • Don’t leave your registration inside your vehicle; carry it with you. Important identification papers or credit cards should never be left in the glove compartment.
  • If carrying packages or valuable items, store them in your trunk if possible. If you do leave packages, clothing or other valuable items in the car, make sure they are out of sight.
  • Park in well-lit busy areas.
  • Keep your car’s license plate number and vehicle identification number (VIN) written down in a safe place away from your vehicle.

Computer Crime

An estimated two billion dollars are lost each year due to computer crimes. These include victims of all types, from a private individual to powerful corporations. Criminals will use computers to store their own records and will use them to gain personal data about others. There are many sources accessible through the internet or modem connections which contain information such as social security numbers, bank account information, credit card account numbers, passwords, and even credit histories. With this information, criminals can spend your money or impersonate you and it may be months before you even become aware something is wrong.

Why People Become Computer Criminals

Though each computer criminal will have their own reasons for breaking the law, there are several basic reasons why people choose to break the law. They include profit of some type (be it through theft, extortion, or selling favors), a thrill, mental illness, ignorance of the law, or desperation. Obviously however, a gain of some type is going to be the first and foremost cause of computer crime. They may see a chance to alter or create their own financial records, change or create another person’s records for a fee, or steal information for their own use. Software piracy is probably the most common and over-looked computer crime.

However, you cannot rightfully say that all computer related crimes are initiated due to greed. Many ‘hackers’ will claim that they breach the security of computer systems for the thrill, satisfaction, and to impress their friends. Of course, in order to prove they succeeded in entering a computer system, they will either need to do something newsworthy or show their friends how they got in; usually increasing the impact of their crime. If you manage to contact one of these hackers, they will probably claim that they are doing nothing illegal, though some will use the term ‘semi-legal’ if confronted. The truth, however will be based upon their actions and the state and federal laws which are broken.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is a growing problem nationwide. Here are some tips to help avoid becoming a victim.

  • Deposit all outgoing mail in mailboxes or in the mailing slots at your local post office. Never leave payments in your mailbox. Before going on vacation, notify the post office to hold your mail until you return.
  • Never give out your social security number unless you absolutely have to. Do not include it on checks.
  • Keep all your personal and account information in a safe place (preferably a lock box).
  • Shred credit card offers and other refuse before throwing them away.
  • Never write your ATM pin on the back of your card or on a piece of paper kept in your purse or wallet.
  • Do not choose a PIN based on your birth date, social security number or any other obvious item.
  • Carry only those credit cards you think you’ll need on a given day.
  • Don’t give out account numbers over the phone unless you initiated the call.
  • Every year order a copy of your credit report from all three major credit reporting agencies to make sure it is accurate.

Further Resources

If you are a victim of ID theft, fill out an ID Theft Affidavit. You also need to file a police report either with the police department where the crime occurred, or your local police department where you live.

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