Post Classifieds

'See Something, Say Something'

By Jeff Sigmund
On November 2, 2015

Students should report suspicious behavoir to Kirkwood Security at 319-389-1774 or dial 9-1-1. Students can also text "CRIMES" to anonymously report suspicious behavoir. In the text, include "5227" with the tip. Photo illustration of hypothetical scenerio by Jeff Sigmund and Shelby Stender.

On Oct. 23, students, faculty and staff at Kirkwood Community College received an alert by text and/or e-mail that read, “Report of shots fired College Park apts….No threat to campus at this time.” 

The incident, near the main campus, is a reminder of three nationwide college campus shootings in the past three weeks and that any suspicious behavior should be reported. 

On Oct. 1, at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., 10 people were killed, including the gunman, and seven  more people were injured when a student opened fire on the campus (cbsnews.com).  A freshman accused of shooting four fellow students at Northern Arizona University on Oct. 9 has been charged with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of felony aggravated assault (cnn.com). Just a few days later, two students were shot, one fatally, at Texas Southern University (cbsnews.com). 

Two separate suspects from these three college shootings posted on social media sites about possible plans to commit violent crimes. However, nothing was reported as suspicious before the shootings occurred. 

Due to these recent events, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), along with its partners, including the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA) and many colleges and universities to ramp up their “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign. 

The nationwide safety campaign aims to keep the public safe by encouraging people to “say something” when they witness a suspicious activity or behavior. The University of Iowa has since become one of the campaign’s partners.

The University of Iowa Police and Dept. of Public Safety launched their “See Something, Say Something” in August of last year.

 Former Lt. Peter Berkson said, “It is important for people to be aware of their surroundings and feel empowered to report suspicious incident and behaviors.”

Berkson also stated, “By doing so, we not only increase the likelihood to prevent a violent act but we also follow up on lower -level incidents, which can assist people in need.” 

Melissa Jensen, director of Emergency Services and Campus Security at Kirkwood, said students can report information confidentially through the Silent Witness Program. Jensen said students can logon to the Campus Security website and click “Silent Witness Report” and enter the information. She added that if it is an emergency students should dial 9-1-1. 

According to Community Outreach Specialist Officer Alton Poole, “Seventy percent of active shooters say something to someone beforehand and nothing is done or reported.” Poole added, “This is why if people see or hear something, they need to report it.”

Kirkwood Community College students who were polled about whether or not they would report suspicious activity if they were guaranteed anonymity agreed they would report it. “Yes, I would say something,” said Garmai Kpartipa, nursing student. “Safety is important because you can study, learn and live with no fear. I’ve been here since 2012 and I can say Kirkwood is very safe.”

According to Sgt. Christy Hamblin, Cedar Rapids Police Department, “People can send tips to us. Tips that are submitted through the cell phone or website are encrypted, entirely confidential, completely anonymous and are immediately transferred to an account established for our office.”

Students can sign up to receive texts and/or emails via www.kirkwood.edu/alert.

 

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