Motorist harassment reports, scam emails prompt Public Safety campus email

Recent reports of harassment from motorists passing through campus prompted Chief of Public Safety Bob Norris to send out a campus-wide email on March 31 urging students to report any incidents of harassment.
The first official report came in March 28, which Norris said was “an unusual situation.” Norris recounted how a female felt unsafe after a motorist passing through yelled inappropriate comments as she walked from a campus building to her residence hall. Instead of heading directly home, she walked to the Beamer Center to find a male friend to walk with her. After walking her back to her residence, the male friend stopped by Public Safety to report the incident.
This sort of report is not the first of its kind, according to Norris. After the March 28 report, two more reports came into Public Safety about similar situations involving motorists calling out inappropriate comments to passers-by.
“I think this is horrific,” Norris said, regarding the recent peak of reports. People, he said, should be able to walk down the sidewalk without feeling unsafe. Making the sidewalks safe, though, requires reports to come in immediately after incidents.
Through close ties with the Wheaton Police Department, Norris hopes to follow up on these reports. Public Safety reports these incidences to the police department in efforts to identify the perpetrators and prevent similar situations from happening in the future. He also suggested taking a picture of the motorist or vehicle if possible for investigative purposes.
In addition to harassment from motorists, there have been reports of students receiving scam emails. Norris said these emails often contain offers of jobs, asking for personal information.
A good rule of thumb to prevent scams is to make sure you know who the sender is before replying, Norris said. Since some of the emails appear authentic, he also pointed to the Center for Vocation and Career on campus as a place to confirm the legitimacy of a company.
For right now, Norris strongly recommended putting Public Safety’s number in your contact list as a quick reference should you find yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe or unsure. Reporting these incidences right away allows the investigative process to start sooner.
Norris emphasized, “We are here to serve the campus community.”
Public Safety can be reached 24 hours a day at 630-752-5911.

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