Lock your door. Don’t leave your belongings unattended. Be aware of your surroundings.
This might seem like common sense, but every year the ACU Police Department receives calls from people reporting crimes that could have been prevented by following these basic safety precautions.
ACU Police Chief Jimmy Ellison said ACU and its surrounding neighborhoods are safe areas, but they still aren’t immune to crime.
“One of the things we stress is don’t let your guard down simply because you’re on a private Christian college campus,” Ellison said. “We encourage people to take the same precautions that you would take at home.”
Ellison said college campuses attract certain crimes the police deal with regularly. Bicycle theft is a problem on all college campuses,and ACU is no different.
“We deal with a lot of bike thefts every year,” Ellison said. “We encourage people to know your bike’s brand name and serial number and to take the time to use a lock.”
It’s common on campus for students to leave their laptops for a couple of minutes, and when they return, someone has stolen it. Ellison said this used to be a bigger problem in past years.
“I think the average student has gotten a little better at taking care of their valuables,” Ellison said. “We still have iPhones stolen, but we’re not seeing the number of stolen iPhones and laptops as we have in recent years.”
“One thing we still struggle with is theft out of dorm rooms,” Ellison said. “Most guys will tend to leave their dorm rooms unlocked and then they have lap tops or cash stolen. Those kind of crimes are hard to solve.”
Ellison said to lock your dorm or apartment door even if you’re just gone for a couple of minutes
He also said the ACUPD always recommends using the Lunsford Trail for exercising, not the surrounding streets, especially at night.
Ellison said when students move off-campus there are several ways to be responsible house tenants. He thinks ACU should provide an informational session to sophomore students to prepare them for living off-campus and how to be a good neighbor
“I think this would go a long way to solve on the front end problems we deal with in the neighborhoods,” Ellison said.
Students need to understand everyone in their neighborhood isn’t a college student, but when moving into a college neighborhood, residents should understand they will have to deal with more traffic and large gatherings. Ellison said they both need to give and take.
“The biggest thing students can do is to get to know your neighbor at the start of the school ear and establish a relationship with them,” Ellison said. “Then if your stereo is too loud or there are too many people there, your neighbor feels comfortable to call you instead of calling the police.”
Being avoiding problems and staying safe all comes down to being responsible, Ellison said.
“The challenge ACUPD has is educating the students to balance their compassion with common sense,” Ellison said.
This past weekend, a patrol officer spotted a man in Smith-Adams residential hall who he knew wasn’t a student, so the officer asked the man what he was doing there. A female student had let him into the dorm while he had been asking people in the parking lot for money.
“You can’t let an outside person into the resident hall simply because they say they need help,” Ellison said. “By bringing this person into the reshall, you’ve made everyone living there vulnerable to his intentions.”
Ellison said ACU has a cultural problem where students are so trusting they’re reluctant to report something suspicious to the police.
“We cannot keep this campus and neighbor safe without students,” Ellison said. “You are the first line of defense, and we depend on your eyes and your ears to report things to us. We do our part but we have to have students do their part. Be safe, be smart and report suspicious activity.”
If you want to report something to the ACUPD, call 325-674-2911 or325-674-2305.