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Safety is everyone’s responsibility

This semester, there have been reports of scams on campus, a shooting just off campus and an incident in which a student cut his hand while grabbing for a knife he was being threatened with in the Palazzo Apartments at Campus Pointe.

With multiple incidents reported, Fresno State is aiming to to protect and inform students on how to stay safe.

“All of us just want our sons, daughters, friends and colleagues to be safe, and that’s the bottom line,” said Dr. Frank Lamas, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management.

Amy Luna, the manager of emergency operations and business continuity for the public safety department said that officers on campus are vigilant and active in protecting the boundaries of Fresno State.

“Sometimes there are still things that get through, but our department is very proactive in contacting people and responding to calls for service and being visually present,” said Luna.

This semester there have already been two reports of scams on campus, one being a tuition scam in which scammers attempted to get personal information from victims over the phone. The other scam involved someone posing as a University Police tow truck demanding money from students.

“Phone scams tend to be more common these days,” said Luna. “It’s important to be cautious, be cautious with your personal information including your address, for sure your Social Security, be very cautious and protective of that.”

If at any point students find themselves in a difficult situation where they’re faced with danger, Lamas recommended that they stay safe by complying with what is being asked of them.

“If you’re in a really unfortunate situation and someone pulls a gun on you, then at that point give them what they ask for,” Llamas said. “Be cooperative and hopefully they’ll just leave you alone and just take your property.”

He said that being in this type of situation can be tragic, but that Fresno State will do whatever it can to help aid victims whether it be through counseling or other means.

One way of helping is through the good Samaritan program which helps victims of theft repurchase any items that were lost in a theft incident.  

Lamas also recommended that all students save the police department’s number in their phone in case of an emergency or incident.

There are three safety tips the police department tries to remind students of to keep them out of harm’s way, Luna said.

The first is for all students to be aware of their surroundings.

“It’s easy to get distracted by studying or by technology while you’re on campus,” said Luna. “A very important thing that you can do to protect yourself is to be aware of what’s going on around you when you’re walking across campus.”

The second tip is for students to protect their personal property.

“It’s important to keep your belongings with you at all times,” said Luna. “If you have a bike or a vehicle make sure that it’s locked.”

The third and one of the most important safety tips is to report suspicious activity to the police department.

“You can always call the police department on campus,” said Luna. “You can speak to the dispatchers and let them know if you see something and it doesn’t seem right. We would much rather deal with a bunch of unfounded calls then for someone to not want to tell us and it turns into something else.”

There are many safety programs and tools on campus available to students. One of these programs is the self-defense system for women R.A.D.

R.A.D. is a class that is offered to women every semester, said Luna. It teaches women self-defense techniques. The class is a total of 12 hours and is taught in the span of three days.  

For students who feel unsafe walking on campus, the police department also offers a safety escort program.  

“You can call our dispatch center and ask for someone to escort you,” said Luna. “We can only do the escorts on campus. If you live off campus, then we would be able to take you to the campus border.”

Lamas encourages students to be mindful about what they share on social media because it may lead to possible theft or unwanted attention.

“That just gives people the opportunity to, one, seek you out or find you and, two, they may know that now you’re not in your house, and they can go and rob your house,” said Lamas.

Lamas stressed that if anyone sees anything on campus that doesn’t look right they should get proactive and report it so that the issue may be resolved.

“You’re the eyes and ears all over campus. If you see something that you think is problematic then reach out and let us know,” said Lamas. “We always appreciate your feedback and thoughts.”