CSUN Department of Police Services (PD) held its first free crime prevention workshop on the second floor of the police station in the training room last Thursday.
The workshop was open to students, faculty and the community, and more workshops will be offered throughout the remainder of this school year.
A variety of protection tips and resources were offered Thursday ranging from crime and identity theft prevention, to pepper spray usage and self-defense for children. Most of the workshops offered throughout the year will be free, with only a few costing as little as $10.
Crime Prevention Coordinator and the workshop’s presenter, Daniel Foster, initiated the workshop by addressing the recent car break-ins and bike thefts that have occurred on campus since the beginning of the semester.
Foster said a large student body, usually typical at the start of a school year, makes many vulnerable to thefts and break-ins. However, taking the right measures, applying a little bit of common sense and following one’s instincts is a big part of crime prevention.
Tips for bike and car owners include using a U-Lock, which is known as a more robust alternative to a regular bike lock, and removing anything of value from a vehicle when unattended.
Foster also discussed the various resources available to students and staff such as registering their bikes and laptops in the department’s database. Registering these items, Foster said, helps prevent theft. Were theft to occur, PD would be able to help speed up the recovery process.
Foster, who has been the department’s crime prevention coordinator since 2007, said the impetus for these workshops was born from an idea to broaden the department’s outlet beyond being just a police department.
“There’s a philosophy that’s (growing) called ‘community oriented policing’ and especially in higher education that is wanting to educate our community and provide them with information that helps,” said Foster.
Ani Hagopian, senior public health major, has been attending the workshops ever since hearing about them from a campus visit by the police department a year ago.
“I think every student should be a part of the police department services because they’re very useful,” said Hagopian. “It’s helped me a lot to be aware of the campus. I’ve heard a lot of stories of people getting their laptops stolen or property broken into and they may not know about this service.”
Foster acknowledges the power of the workshops as a way to connect with students and the wider community. He hopes they see the campus police department as a helpful resource instead of “just an ominous building for arrests and processing police information.”
The department is also active on Facebook, using it as a platform to keep CSUN and the neighboring Northridge community informed about activities on and around campus. Additionally, its website provides valuable information such as daily crime logs and upcoming events such as these workshops.
“In the end, I am only one person,” said Foster. “So, my hope is that people attending these workshops will remember some useful information and pass it on to others.”