Naperville Police Commander Tim Ogan knows all too well about the challenges that college-age students could face if they get into trouble with the law when they start classes in the fall. He said one of the keys to making the most of the college experience is maintaining lines of communication between students and their parents or other family members.
“We want you to sit there and remind your kids this can have long-lasting consequences,” Ogan said.
On Thursday night, the Naperville Police Department hosted a college safety webinar for students and their parents to make sure area college-age students head back to school this fall knowing how to keep themselves and their possessions safe.
How Not to Fall Victim
One message shared by Naperville police stressed the importance of knowing how to avoid being a victim.
Mary Browning, the police department’s crime prevention specialist, said there are several steps an individual can take, including having situational awareness, speaking out when you see something wrong and trusting one’s gut instincts.
Browning described what the perfect victim looks like, saying they may be distracted, unfamiliar with their surroundings, carrying too large of a load, sharing too much information on social media or failing to lock up belongings in their dorm and/or vehicle.
Mental Health Matters
Another message shared by police was to encourage students to get familiar with the resources available to them on campus.
Ogan suggested that students consider visiting the wellness center on campus should they find it is beneficial to talk to someone about depression, anxiety or academic issues.
He emphasized the importance of knowing and understanding that an individual cannot have true health without mental health.
When asked about the challenges of building and maintaining positive working relationships between the police and college-aged students, Ogan said it is a bit of a balancing act.
“You have to have trust and faith in your police department,” he said. “If you don’t, we can’t work together to solve crime and keep crime from happening. It’s not the police doing it alone, it’s our entire community.”
Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.
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