New approach toward bystander education
On college campuses, students are often reluctant to report a crime, whether it’s being committed by a fellow classmate or a stranger.
One way to combat this problem is for universities to train bystanders on the need to do something when a potential crime or suspicious activity occurs, says Middle Tennessee State University Police Chief Buddy Peaster.
Beginning in 2014, the university will launch a program to educate various sectors of the campus community on the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the police. Every few months, the police department will hold meetings in different areas of campus and offer information about crime reports, tips for making the campus safe, and the need to report suspicious activity.
Called Workplace Watch, the program is a hybrid of the traditional neighborhood watch and community policing programs that have helped reduce crime in cities throughout the country.
The program will begin with meetings of staff and then branch out to student organizations. Peaster says, “It is one of the things that we feel we can do to push back against the reluctance people have when it comes to interacting with law enforcement.”