By Nicholas Lawrence
Once again we find ourselves here at SCAD with a new quarter and for those who are just joining us at SCAD there are a lot of different things you need to know while being here. District wants to ease that task by a new addition to SCADvis- Student Safety. Nick Lawrence reports.
District sat down with Jeffrey Smith the Director of Security and Transportation who’s been with SCAD for 6 years, and Officer Samantha Stephens of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department for 5 years. It’s the beginning of a new
quarter; a lot of students aren’t aware of what they can do to protect themselves
from crime. An urban environment is new to a lot of them. So in preparation we
talked about the most common incident regarding students.
[SMITH] “The biggest thing students run into are what we call theft of lost or mislaid
property, and what that is for example: you leave your backpack sitting on this table
and you come back tomorrow and it’s not on the table anymore”.
Officer Stephens tells us how students can reduce their chances of being victims of
this type of crime.
[STEPHENS] “The biggest preventive measure is to keep up with your things.
Outside of that the next guarded thing that they can do for themselves is prepare
themselves. Take photos of it, write down the serial numbers, store that information
electronically and write it down somewhere. In other words don’t put it in the
device that you’re gonna actually have with you carrying around. Send it to yourself
in an email, save it on a file…”.
The police department has a lot of resources at your disposal but they specifically
recommend the use of the police department’s website at scmpd.org.
[SMITH] “The city website has an interactive crime map, so you can look and you
can see what’s been going on in the neighborhoods. You can go and break down
when these things are occurring…”
[STEPHENS] “…it does it by time as well as by specific crimes. There’s rates online
and if they wanna know – robberies I wanna know about how many robberies affect
this area, it’s all broken down…”
[SMITH] “They publish weekly crime stats as well and they also have the annual
In addition to active mindfulness of your possessions and item documentation,
they follow and promote a system of safety called the 4 R’s. It stands for risk
awareness, risk reduction, risk recognition, and risk avoidance. For the first part,
risk awareness, Jeffrey Smith says the use of the interactive crime map and police
department twitter feed are two steps you should take to be aware of crime. For the
second part they have more specific recommendations.
[SMITH] “Risk reduction: and those are using some of those tools, registering your
bike, use Saferide if you’re out late at night and you’re stuck somewhere and you
need to get back to your residence…”
[STEPHENS] “…But if you call SCAD security 2 o’clock in the morning because
you had a late project and you need to be escorted from there to wherever your
destination is, they’ll escort you. So use your tools”.
The safest way to recognize a risk they said is to always inform the police of
suspicious activity even if you don’t have any confirmation. Officer Stephens says
that it is not harassment and it only takes time. They continue with how to avoid risk and why it’s the most difficult part.
[SMITH] “And the last ones risk avoidance and that ones probably the most difficult
one to do because you actually have to take an action. When you’re in a situation
whether you’re walking down the street and you see a group of people in front of
you that make you feel uncomfortable, or you’re at a social gathering and you’re, you
know, being pressured into doing something, just remember that your safety and
security is more important than, just fill in the blank…”
They offered some advice and insight for current and prospective students to
protect themselves from crime here.
[STEPHENS] “Be mindful of where you are, be mindful of what you do when you
are where you are, and know where your stuff is. You gotta know where your stuff
is. You gotta keep up with who you are because, ultimately, you’re responsible. It’s
about accountability. It’s a job, it’s a task, it’s a to do, but it’s about accountability”.
[SMITH] “You wanna be active and enjoy your time here at SCAD but just remember
if it doesn’t look right, feel right, taste right, smell right, it’s probably not right. “
With the new quarter and new students we want individuals to be aware and
informed of ways to protect themselves. We want everyone to be savvy in Savannah.
This has been Nick Lawrence reporting for District.