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The Campus Watch Crime Prevention Manual

Campus Watch is the community based crime prevention program and organization for the faculty, staff and students of Rice University . Founded in 1996, Rice Campus Watch is an innovative application of the highly successful block watch program, specifically tailored to meet the needs of this urban university. Members of the campus community actively participate in this program through monthly and/or quarterly meetings, an emergency phone network, and training sessions. Campus Watch started with nine volunteers from the old Graduate House in 1996. By January of 1997, Campus Watch had grown to include Brown and Jones College with over thirty volunteers in the program. The Watch included all the remaining colleges by September 23, 1997 and is now being expanded to include employees in a sister "Building Watch" organization. Both the College Watch and Building Watch organizations are a part of Campus Watch.

Campus Watch is organized under the auspices of the Rice University Police Department. The Rice Police Department was recognized in 1996 for having the most outstanding crime prevention programs in the state of Texas .


In a nutshell Campus Watch is the people of Rice University looking out for each other. This is accomplished in a number of ways:

Each member is required to attend a one hour intensive training session on crime prevention theory and practical application. This session is augmented with a training manual that will allow the volunteer to educate him or herself on the topics not covered in the session.

Once trained, the volunteer is invited to assist the crime prevention officer in conducting a security survey of their office and classroom area.

Monthly meetings are held for the entire membership. Crime prevention information on pertinent topics are presented at each meeting by either a member of the University Police or a guest speaker.

Each Campus Watch member is a link in the Emergency Phone Network. When a violent crime has been committed, the Campus Police initiate a call to a Watch Captain. He or she will in turn notify the other Watch Captains in his or her college and the Watch Members on the Captains floor or area. Within about thirty minutes all available volunteers have the facts rather than the rumors that inevitably spread when a violent crime occurs.


To provide a forum for the exchange and coordination of ideas, concepts, and strategies to prevent or reduce crime.

To educate members of the Rice University community in all matters relating to crime prevention.

To focus attention on issues relating to crime prevention.

To encourage extensive citizen and community involvement in the reduction of crime and criminal opportunity.

To share with all segments of the campus community and the CAMPUS WATCH organization, matters relating to the continued development of a comprehensive plan for the prevention of crime at Rice.

To encourage the education of all members of the Rice University community in matters which increase personal and community safety.

To encourage maximum cooperation and communication between all segments of the Rice University community in addition to improving communications between all community members and the Rice University Police toward the goal of crime prevention.






Table of Contents:




RISK MANAGEMENT: Liabilities and Safety on Campus


Opportunity Theft

Safety on Campus

Personal Safety

Office/Department Safety

Vehicle Safety

Bicycle Theft Prevention

Operation ID

Ultraviolet Ink


Describing a suspicious person

Describing a weapon

Describing a vehicle






Campus Watch is a community based crime prevention organization. It is designed for the faculty, staff and students of Rice University . This program is an application of the successful community Block Watch program. These Block Watch principles have been structured to accommodate the requirements of our urban University community.

The Rice University Campus Watch program was founded in 1996.

Campus Watch is organized under the Rice University Police and consists of community volunteers. These volunteers meet monthly to train and discuss matters related to crime prevention.

Campus Watch has two major objectives. The first objective is to prevent criminal activity or to reduce its frequency. The second objective is to increase the protection for the individual members, their colleagues, and property. These objectives are accomplished through education. This takes place through monthly meetings, guest speakers and special training seminars.

Campus Watch is the citizens of Rice University community looking out for one another. These individuals relay information to their colleagues.

Campus Watchers network through the Emergency Phone Network. This is a pyramid that allows information to be distributed throughout the community in a rapid fashion. Further networking is accomplished through the Phone/Fax/E-mail network.

Campus Watch is the cooperation and communication between the Rice University community and Rice Police. The result is a safer Rice University for all members of the community.



As a Campus Watcher, you have become a vital link between your college and the Rice Police. Many people complain among themselves about criminal activity. They never do anything about it. They never report it to the police. Because of your personal commitment to the Campus Watch program, you are no longer one of these people. You will now become a person who does something about it.


The first step in becoming a Campus Watcher is training. In this training you will learn the theories of crime prevention. You will learn how to best protect yourself while on campus. You will learn to assess the physical risk in your work and living area. Vehicle crime is a chronic problem in large cities, and Houston is no exception. You will be given strategies to keep your unattended vehicle safe. Finally, after hours precautions will be given. You will learn how the criminal mind works.

How a victim is chosen. Then strategies will be given to assist you in protecting yourself, both on campus and in your daily life.

Your responsibility will be to take this knowledge back to your college, to your floor or wing, to your family and to your friends. Practice these strategies for crime prevention regularly and urge others to do so. These techniques are designed to reduce your chances of criminal victimization.

Another responsibility will be to report suspicious persons and activities to the Campus Police. By doing this you assist the police in working to prevent crime, establish patterns of activity, and identify suspects. Police Officers on the daily assignments will stop in from time to time.

Every college experiences a certain amount of turnover. You should provide safety information to your new students.

Campus Watch is the people of the Rice University community looking out for one another. Our community can no longer afford to pay the staggering price of crime. You, the Campus Watcher, have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to the community. Through your active involvement in this community police program, each and every one of you help make our community not only a safer place, but a better place. Together, we will make a difference.


Crime prevention can be defined in many different ways. It is the anticipation, recognition and appraisal of a crime risk, and then initiating some type of action to reduce or remove it. This process can also be termed risk management.


The Four D’s

To help us remember the premise of Risk Management, we need to remember: detect, deny, deter, and delay.

1. DETECT: An assessment must be made of a particular area. This assessment establishes whether the area is a crime risk. Contributing factors would include: criminal history, structural security, and personal liabilities. When all these factors have been established and assessed, a crime risk has been detected. Primary areas of hardware to inspect are lights, locks, and alarms.

2. DENY: Since we have detected a crime risk, we now must do things to either eliminate or reduce it. We want to deny the criminal the opportunity to commit the crime. The best option is to deny any opportunity to let a crime be committed. Sometimes this is not possible. We are bound by rules and regulations; we are effected by financial constraints. We must use prudent judgment on when to make changes to deny risk. Denying risks may call for upgrading a structure, changing a behavior, or requiring an individual to be somewhat inconvenienced.

3. DETER: Making the crime risk absolutely impregnable is not always possible. That is okay. Just because you cannot establish total invulnerability does not mean that an effort should not be made to reduce a detected crime risk. If we cannot make the area crime proof, let us make it so difficult for the criminal that the risk of getting caught, is not worth the fruits of the crime. Upgrading hardware is always an option. Lighting can always be upgraded, but it is just as important to make sure that the existing fixtures are fully operational. If it is too expensive, the existing hardware can be repaired so that it works as best as it can. Lighting can always be upgraded, but it is just as important to make sure that the existing fixtures are fully operational.

4. DELAY: The best example to use for delay, is an automobile theft. If a thief wants to steal your car, there is nothing that you can do to prevent it. Every alarm system can be defeated given time. With the crime risk that we have detected, we want to delay the criminal. Criminals want to get in and get out fast. By making them stay longer, there is a greater chance that they will be detected. We need to implement items in our crime risk that slow a criminal down so much that


The biggest crime that happens on the Rice campus every year is the “opportunity theft”. This is a very preventable crime. All it takes is personal responsibility.


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To illustrate opportunity theft, we will refer to the triangle. A triangle is a three sided geometric figure. If you should remove any side of the triangle, the structure collapses. The same is true of opportunity theft. It has three sides. Side one we will label as Desire. There must be desire on the part of an individual to commit a crime. Side two we will label as Skills. The perpetrator must possess certain abilities to commit the offense. In opportunity theft, the skills need be great. How difficult is it for a thief to pick up a coat, put it on and walk away? How difficult is it to pick up a backpack and walk off undetected with it. Opportunity is the base of the triangle. If we deny that opportunity, no crime can be committed.

You are expected to set an example for stopping opportunity theft, but you are to educate others in your college about opportunity and the precautions they must take to avoid them. Reminders, both verbal and written will be helpful to those who occasionally forget.


Rice University is a safe campus. Just like any university in a major city, there will be some safety liabilities, there will be some crime incidents. In this section you will be made aware of them, and will be given strategies to use for your protection.


Rice University has a safe campus where personal safety is concerned. By taking reasonable precautions you can further reduce your chance of being a victim.

Be aware of your area. Know who is in the area to assist you. Know who belongs, and who does not belong.

Know how to use your campus phone. Remember that the number for the Rice Police is 713-348-6000 or campus ext. 6000. If you are off campus, dial 9-1-1 .

Use the Escort Service when you are working late at night.

Know the location of the nearest Emergency Phone in the area you are in.

Remember that a suspect looks for one person alone.


University property, and personal property is stolen from offices at an alarming rate. Many times this is because we become complacent. Be aware! Be attentive. Never showcase your office, your property, or the university's property.

Close and lock your office when it is not occupied.

Encourage your coworkers to lock their offices.

Lock your desk, file cabinets, locker, etc.

Put your valuables away at night.

Consider having office hardware secured.

Have a representative of the Rice Police Department conduct a security assessment of your office.


Houston is a major U.S. city. All major U.S. cities experience auto theft problems. Since Rice is located near the middle of downtown Houston we have auto theft on campus. Fortunately, it is lower than the surrounding Houston area. Possibly because of our police patrols through the lots and around the campus streets combined with the locking of most of the accesses to Rice late at night. Cars still do get stolen off the Rice Campus.





Thefts from vehicles are also a problem. This takes place when an individual uses their car as an auxiliary locker, office, or storage facility. Property left in plain sight is an invitation to a thief to steal. The window gets broken out. The property gets removed, and the thief is quickly gone. The solutions are simple.

Do not leave anything of value in plain sight in your vehicle.

Place property in the trunk.

If you have a hatchback or a similar type vehicle place all property nearest the back, then cover it with an old blanket.

Always roll up your windows and lock you car when you leave it.


Bicycle theft is an ongoing problem. If you haven't already, you should record the make, model and serial number of your bicycle and store the information in a safe place. It is also a good idea to register your bicycle with the police. The Campus Police provide this service free. Online bicycle registration, R.I.D.E.; RegisterIDentify Educate, is available at .

While it is not possible to make your bicycle 100% theft proof, there are some simple steps you can take to increase the security of your bicycle and its parts:

Use a casehardened “U” lock; cable locks are easily cut

Lock your bicycles in racks provide by Rice University

Remember to also lock parts attached with quick release mechanisms

Below are some pictures of bicycles. Some are locked more securely than others.

1. Poorly Locked

This bike's owner has a good lock, but is using it incorrectly. The lock is fastened to the cable loop on the rack and not the rack itself. The cable is the most easily defeated part of any bike security system. The u-lock should be through the frame of the bicycle and secured to the rack, with the cables looped through the wheels and then onto the u-lock.

2. Poorly Locked

This bike has quick-release mechanisms on the wheels, so the cable should be looped through the wheels to prevent them from being stolen. If possible, this cable-type lock should be avoided.

 3. Not Locked

This bike's owner has taken the time to loop the rack cables through the bike wheels and has secured the rack latch. The only thing missing is a lock. No matter how little value you place on your bicycle, there's someone who will steal it. Even a $5.00 lock is better than no lock at all.

4. Securely Locked

This bicycle is locked securely. Notice that the u-lock is locked to the bike frame and the rack post. Also notice that the rack cable is looped through the front wheel and attached to the u-lock. If the rear wheel also had the cable looped through it, this bike would be very secure.

5. Securely Locked

This bicycle is locked securely. Notice that the u-lock is locked to the bike frame and the rack post. Also notice that the rack cable is looped through the front wheel and attached to the u-lock. If the rear wheel also had the cable looped through it, this bike would be very secure.

6. Very Securely Locked

This bicycle is locked very securely. Notice that the u-lock is locked to the bike frame and the rack post. Also notice that the rack cable is looped through both the front and back wheels and attached to the u-lock.




Operation Identification is a citizen burglary/theft prevention program used in home and businesses. The Operation ID program involves the marking of property with an identifying number as a means of discouraging burglary and theft. In communities where it has been properly implemented, Operation Identification has shown dramatic results in its ability to reduce burglary and theft.

At Rice the Operation ID program has two parts. First, engrave your valuables with your Driver's License Number or your Texas ID Number. Second, record the brand name, model, serial number, your ID number, and the location of where you marked the item. Forms and engravers are available from your College Officer


The Rice University Police can also mark your items with an invisible ultraviolet ink. Once marked the ink can not be washed off. Although this may help the police recover a stolen item, it is not a deterrent to burglary or theft. Many officers in various agencies will not have access to hand held ultraviolet lights. This choice is available to you if you feel engraving will damage your property. Remember it is not a deterrent to burglary or theft.


 What is suspicious?

What makes someone suspicious?

How do you know if something “funny” took place?

The answer to all these questions is largely subjective. Sometimes an individual will look perfectly normal in one area of the campus, while this same individual’s presence would be highly irregular in another part of campus. The best way to articulate suspicion is: If something, or someone's presence makes you feel that all is not right, you need to articulate this information to the police.

If something out of the ordinary takes place in your office/classroom or college, you need to articulate it so that the dispatcher knows what has taken place. You know your office/classroom or college better than anyone. If something is not right, then you need to articulate it. An example: Every day you lock your desk, file cabinet, and turn off the computer, then, on a Monday, you discover the office open, the computer on and your desk rummaged through; this is suspicious. If you work in an isolated area where students never, or rarely, frequent and a person who looks like a student is just hanging around for a long time, this may be suspicious.

When you talk to the dispatcher, articulate these things. Somebody that is ‘very suspicious’ isn't going to report his or herself to the police.


How do you describe a suspicious person?

The first thing to do is plan now how to do it, so that the description is of use to a police officer looking for them. Do not be shy; do not think your description might be offensive.

After you have tried to articulate these identifiers, go one step further. Ask yourself, if I were going to draw a caricature of this person, what features would draw your attention? Stress and articulate the obvious.




Suspects SEX

Suspects RACE

Did the suspect have a weapon?






Semi-Automatic pistol






Assault Rifle

 If the suspect was in a vehicle, what type and color?


4 door

Coupe (Compact)


2 door Sports Car




Remember! The most important part of a vehicle is its License Plate.

Get the State and Plate Number if possible.


PURPOSE: To advise the Campus watch community of the occurrence of an event, or description of a suspect.

In turn, all Campus Watchers are expected to relay the information to all faculty, staff and students in their office, in their immediate area, on their floor, on in their building.

The Phone Network provides accurate information and all the available information. This information helps eliminate gossip, rumors, and inaccuracies. The Phone Network relays the correct information as quickly as possible. Within fifteen to thirty minutes, the entire Campus Watch membership should be notified of the who, what where, when and how the event occurred.

USAGE: The Phone Network will be used for certain crimes (i.e. robbery, assault, rape) where serious or heinous acts have been committed. The Network will also be used for lesser crimes (misdemeanors) where there is a named suspect or great description.

HOW IT WORKS: Information relating to any event is given by the victim to the police officer and the police dispatcher. A member of the Rice Police Department will initiate the network by calling each College Officer. The College Officer will then contact the floor Captains in a method approved by the College Watch. Each floor Captain is responsible for contacting all the members in his or her area and usually one other area Captain.




The Block or Watch Captain is the primary link in the Campus Watch chain of command. The duties of a Captain include a wide range of simple tasks.

Meet each resident in your assigned area and explain to them what the Campus watch is about. Enlist their support.

Maintain an emergency phone list of all your assigned residents.

Be available to pass on information about criminal activities in your area. (Notice: You may be called late at night.)

Forward information to the Rice University Police/College Officer and activate the Emergency Phone Network, if you receive information from the Rice Police on a suspect or crime alert in your area. {The Emergency Phone Network involves calling watch members and informing them if there is an active incident going on in your area.}

The Captain also coordinates assistance programs if there are any special needs in their area and may set up social events for their members to be involved in.


The most important part of a watch is the members. Being a watch member is not a hard or time consuming job. It mostly involves becoming aware of activities in your area and taking time to report them.

Observe and report any suspicious activities to the Rice University Police or your College Officer.

Report the non emergency activities to your Captain on a 3X5 card or telephone him or her.

Report an emergency to the Police immediately

After you contact the police inform your Captain

Be willing to serve as an acting Captain in the absence of your area Captain and to assist the Captain with projects in your area.

Attend monthly/quarterly meetings of your watch group