Veteran security director Dan Krumholtz has assumed a new role on campus this year, leading a significant broad crime prevention effort.
"We've always wanted to place a greater focus on crime prevention here," Krumholtz said. "It's exciting." Students and university staff will be taught to better recognize crime risk in a given situation and know what to do to reduce it, he added. "By doing this, we're hoping we can eliminate some problems before they become habits."
Ironically it is exactly the feeling of safety on a college campus that opens the door to crime, Krumholtz said. As a result, the great majority of reported crimes on campuses are petty theft, in which a student takes her eye off of her book bag just long enough for it to disappear. A placid campus environment can also make students complacent about more serious safety issues, such as keeping residence doors locked.
Wittenberg has always provided safety and crime prevention programming to students in the residence halls and for others. Involving law enforcement is a departure from the more typical enforcement and response roles of police, Krumholtz said. It is a continuation of Wittenberg's community-oriented policing approach, he added.
In addition to meeting with students in residence halls and rental units, Krumholtz and his fellow security officers will also visit campus departments and Greek houses to raise awareness of crime prevention. They will also deal with issues such as ATM safety and security and bicycle security.
"One of the best lessons our students can learn here is to always be aware of their surroundings and take responsibility for their own property and safety," Krumholtz said. "But it is not easy to evaluate the effectiveness of crime prevention because it is difficult to measure the absence of crime."
Over the summer Krumholtz studied to become a certified crime prevention specialist through an Aegis Protection Group Inc. program in Louisville, Ky.
In his new role, Krumholtz will be evaluating the physical campus environment and looking for ways to integrate new crime fighting technologies including next generation sensors, doors, locks and hinges. A lighting inventory will also be undertaken. "We'll be surveying the campus to see if some parking areas are darker than others because of their location," Krumholtz explained.
Projects to construct a new residence hall and to expand the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center will also benefit from the new safety focus. Such security surveys focus on construction site crime prevention as well as the lighting levels and pedestrian patterns. Building design plays a huge role in crime prevention, Krumholtz said. For instance, window placement, foot traffic patterns and parking locations can make certain buildings or areas more susceptible to crime.