Office of the President

Responding to Crimes & Emergencies

Date: October 3, 2007

To: Students

From: Paul J. Zingg, President

Re: Responding to crime and emergencies

Chico is among the safest and friendliest places to go to college in California. At the same time, Chico is growing, and with that growth has come an increase in crime.  We will never be complacent about incidents that take place or emergencies that could arise. We are all safer when we are armed with accurate and useful information, which allows us to help ourselves and our fellow community members.

Our University Police Department uses a “Crime Alert” e-mail to inform the campus community about a serious crime, details of a suspect, or the health of a victim. The last one sent to students was May 10, when an assault occurred on the pedestrian bridge near the Continuing Education building. University Police Chief Eric Reichel, Student Affairs Vice President Drew Calandrella, and I have discussed increasing the frequency of these e-mails and including safety advice that will be useful to you.

On Sunday, Sept. 30, 2007, a burglar broke into a Klondike Court home but was scared away by Chico State students who resided there. Chico Police investigated and are pursuing leads in the case. This follows a robbery Sept. 13 where the suspect held a Chico State student at gunpoint in his home on Hazel Street. In both situations, students responded extremely well under very difficult circumstances. To help protect against a person breaking into your residence and other threats, here are some tips from University Police:

  • Program important phone numbers into your cell phone's address book, such as the phone numbers for the CSU, Chico Police Department (898-5555) and the City of Chico Police Department (897-4911). For any emergency, dial 911.
  • Report suspicious persons or situations immediately, so they can be assessed by law enforcement. If you notice a suspicious person loitering near your apartment complex or residence hall, don't hesitate to call the University Police Department.
  • Do not leave valuable items in plain view through open or unlocked windows or doors.
  • Lock all doors, windows, and other entry points, whether you live on the ground floor or an upper level. If you come home and find a door or window open, don't go in!  Go to the nearest phone and call the police.
  • Be cautious about providing personal information, such as your home address or cell phone number, to others.

For more extensive advice on staying safe, University Police has a “Safety on Campus” presentation (pdf).

Please look for upcoming safety alerts from Vice President Calandrella and Chief Reichel in your e-mail box. I will continue to write when urgent developments affect our community.

University Police recently posted annual crime statistics for 2006. This Web page also has a great deal of useful information, including safety policies, helpful phone numbers, and what to do in the event of a crime. While these statistics are limited to campus incidents, the City of Chico Police Department has additional information on its Web site.

Last Friday’s standoff at Las Plumas High School in Oroville is a clear reminder of the importance of emergency preparedness. Since the tragedy at Virginia Tech, we have increased the speed we can send e-mails, put an emergency home page in place in the event of power failure or outage, and are testing systems that will simultaneously ring student, faculty, and staff phone numbers with a message.  In addition, University Police has received new training in active shooter incidents, and we are hiring an emergency coordinator to increase our preparedness. Please know that we will use e-mail, phone, Web, and mass media as well as campus-posted signs and loud-speaker announcements in the event of an emergency to give you as much notice and information as possible.

If you were on campus during the spring 2007 semester, you may recall I sent two e-mail messages following the Virginia Tech shootings. The April 19 e-mail has information about how to respond if our worst fears were realized and we had an active shooter on campus. As we have new communication tools and security systems in place, we will be in touch with that information as soon as possible.

Whether we are facing a threat to one of us or all of us, we are most effective when responding together. The qualities of a good community – looking out for one another, tackling problems before they grow, taking pride in where we live – are hallmarks of Chico and Chico State. In this spirit, I want to invite you to the 3rd annual Moonlight Safety Walk Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. We meet at Selvester’s-by-the-Creek for pizza and refreshments, then split into groups to walk through campus and note any safety issues, such as poor lighting or overgrown brush. If you are interested in joining us, e-mail Professor Matt Thomas.

Thank you for your time and efforts as we do everything possible to keep Chico and Chico State wonderful places to live, work, and study.

Paul J. Zingg