14:07 PM

Note From the UHD Police Department

policeThe UHD Police Department welcomes back to campus all new and returning students, faculty and staff. Hopefully everyone is settling in and finding their way around campus, now made more challenging by our ongoing construction project.

We would like to take a moment to alert all members of the community to a crime that is occurring with greater frequency these days - cell phone thefts. Unattended devices have always been a target for thieves, but increasingly we are seeing cases where the perpetrator engages the intended victim.

Our colleagues at the University of Houston have had several recent cases on their campus where a stranger approached another person and requested the use of that person's cell phone, then ran off once the cell phone was in their possession. They have also dealt with a number of snatch-and-run cases of cell phone theft at UH, and in a few instances the perpetrator either displayed or claimed to have a weapon.

Targeted phones are most commonly 'smart phones,' which very often have a value of $300-$500 or more. Many of us tend not to think of these devices as being this valuable because we often obtain them at a deeply discounted price as we sign up for a service plan.

Due to the ongoing garage project we now have more people out on the sidewalks and in surface parking lots, which is where these crimes most often occur. While we have increased police patrols in these areas, the best defense against such crimes is individual vigilance. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, keep your phone out of sight when not in use, and do not hand your cell phone to anyone you do not personally know. If a stranger asks to borrow your cell phone please direct them to the UHD Police department, where we will assist them.

If you should encounter anyone acting in a manner described above, please contact the UHD PD at 713-221-8065 immediately to inform us of the interaction. Please do not hesitate in reporting suspicious activity of any kind.

As partners in campus safety and security, we have a shared responsibility to keep safety and security in mind at all times. Everyone plays a role in creating and maintaining a safe environment.

Thank you, have a great semester, and BE SAFE!

Rick Boyle, Chief of Police