Crime prevention program

Volunteers help reduce campus crime

by Connie Bagshaw
Staff writer

Despite the common perception that assaults are the most frequently occurring crime on campus, property offences remain the most reported incidents at UBC.

In 1996, UBC's Dept. of Parking, Transportation and Campus Security received 212 reports of property crimes compared to 13 reports of sexual offences.

Computer theft accounts for most of the property loss sustained by campus, last year totalling more than $100,000.

As part of its on-going efforts to curb theft, break and enter and property damage at UBC, campus security is collaborating with the university detachment of the RCMP to introduce a prevention program based on the principle of knowing your environment in order to create a defensible space and optimize security.

Developed in the United States in 1969, the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) program is used at institutions and in private households across North America.

"UBC's Campus Planning and Development is mindful of CPTED principles in designing new buildings, but there are a great majority of buildings on campus which were not designed to prevent crime," said RCMP Staff Sgt. Fred Barbour.

Building security and theft reduction begin with recognizing whether or not you have provided an opportunity for the offender to be motivated to act, he explained.

That's why volunteers among the faculty, staff and students are being recruited to serve as security co-ordinators, responsible for conducting building risk assessments in their areas using CPTED concepts.

"We encourage each building on campus to appoint a security co-ordinator," Barbour said. "Their main role is to create awareness within their work environments by alerting people to anticipate and recognize potential security risks. They also act as a liaison -- someone that colleagues can report problems or pass on suggestions to."

To achieve a successful building risk assessment, the CPTED program advocates analysing who the potential victims and criminals are, what kind of crime is possible and where and when it may occur.

This type of analysis helps define the problem, determine the necessary level of intervention and identify what assistance is available, Barbour said.

CPTED principles recommend that both outside and inside risks to buildings be assessed. Outside security measures may include trimming trees and shrubs to improve sight lines and improving lighting. Inside buildings, occupants may consider installing motion detection alarms in high risk areas, upgrading locks on doors and windows and securing computers and other valuable equipment with tie-downs or tamper-proof screws and cables.

For more information on volunteering as a security co-ordinator for your area, fax your request to the attention of Patrol Manager Rita Aitken at 822-3541.