Campus police have our backs (and offices and workspaces). That’s the word from Lt. Paul Velez of University Police Services.
“We are patrolling the campus 24/7,” Velez said. “Also, we are ramping up our efforts to check out all the buildings — inside and out — to make sure they are secure.”
Between staffing, students, and events, the campus normally hosts thousands of people a day. Following state directives aimed at stemming the coronavirus pandemic, most work and studies are being done remotely. [More information on UNLV's coronavirus response.]
Vigilance is especially important for those on campus at a time when relatively few people are present, Velez said.
“The word is out in the community about the campus being shut down,” he said, making empty buildings easier targets for crime.
While the police aren’t anticipating trouble, it is wise to be prepared.
“Normally we have the eyes and ears of the many people on campus each day to help us out,” Velez said. Without that presence, it is important that those people who are on campus pay attention and alert the police to anything that seems wrong.
He urged those working on campus to pay attention both while walking on campus and while in their buildings. If you are alone in your office area, keep the door to your office closed if possible. If you see someone in your building who seems suspicious, alert campus police.
Everyone should make sure they have the RebelSafe app onto their cellphones, Velez urged. That’s a fast way to reach campus police even if you are not near a landline.
People also can call police dispatch at (702) 895-3669. Of course, 911 is available for emergencies as are the emergency telephones that are spread across campus.
Don’t worry about reaching out to Police Services if you are unsure if something actually is a problem, Velez counseled. Police would much rather respond to a call that turns out not to be a problem than not to be called at all. What they don’t want is to miss responding to a real problem because someone hesitated.
Velez had advice for people working from home as well. If someone unexpectedly shows up at the door saying they are from a utility company and need to come inside to check something, for instance, call the utility company to make sure someone has been dispatched to your house. Also, utility company employees should have company ID with them.
“The campus community needs to know that we are working diligently to keep our students and employees safe,” Velez said. “We are there for you.”