68 of 278 incidents prompted the UPD to be called to dorms last fall

Holding a door open for someone behind you. Leaving a dorm room unlocked…

“You could get into Scott Hall pretty easily if you wanted to with Scotty’s being open until midnight,” UW Oshkosh sophomore Josh Brost said. “And they keep the door from Scotty’s open even when security check-ins are here.”

Brost works at the front desk of Scott Hall, where his job is to ensure students’ safety by checking that packages are going to residents, ensuring everyone entering the building is a resident or visitor of the residence hall and being on alert for suspicious people.

Although Brost and other front desk workers try to ensure students’ safety, they know that they aren’t always successful. Statistics bear that out.

According to University Police Dispatch Supervisor Nikki Schettle, during the Fall 2018 semester at UWO, 68, or 24.4 percent of the 278 incidents that prompted hall supervisors to call University Police to residence halls, impeded the safety of students. These incidents are categorized as alarm activations, suspicious incidents, theft, disturbances, elevator rescues and gas leaks.

According to UP Captain Chris Tarmann, one of the biggest threats to security in the residence halls is tailgating: holding the door open for the person behind you when entering your residence hall. Signs are put on the front door of all halls educating students on this issue.
Tarmann said an initiative was implemented in the spring 2018 semester to reduce burglaries.

“We started a Busted Initiative where we identified a problem, we had some burglaries because somebody would go to the bathroom and leave their door unlocked,” Tarmann said. “An officer is doing a building check and sees a residence hall room open. They put a ‘Busted’ card in the room and say ‘Hey, we could’ve stole your stuff, we could have been a criminal,’ and then it shares some information about locking your doors.”

South Scott resident Casey Press said she feels secure knowing that strangers can’t come into her dorm at night.

“I don’t really like that I can’t get into other dorms with my ID, but I agree that it is a safety precaution,” Press said.

Tarmann said the UWO Mobile app allows students to chat with dispatch in real time to report an incident and see what’s happening on campus in regards to safety.

According to Tarmann, about 5,500 people have downloaded the app and about 3,000 students live on campus.

All of UWO’s residence halls are locked from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays and from 9:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. on weekends. During these times students can enter their resident hall with their ID; then they must check in at a security station before gaining access to the building.

If a person who does not live in the building would like access, they must be checked in as a guest by someone who lives in the building. The residence hall security program alerts people working the security station if a person restricted from the building attempts to check in.

The front desk of all residence halls is open from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. every day and are run by staff trained in safety and security as well as policy violation reporting.

Tarmann said he encourages students to understand and support the resources available to them because they are there to protect them.

“The number one advice for students is be alert to what’s out of place,” Tarmann said. “We’re all ingrained in the downtime of our device. Get away from that a little bit and try to look up and see what’s around you.”