April Showers, May Flowers and Keeping Safe What’s Ours

Public Safety & U — April 2024
USGA students and Drexel Public Safety representatives.
After 16 hours of hands-on and classroom instruction, these students from the Undergraduate Student Government Association are certified instructors of Drexel’s self-protection class, SAFE.

It’s spring! As Drexel University welcomes many students back to campus after their co-op cycles, Drexel Public Safety is pleased to share important tips on personal safety, theft prevention and seasonal issues like flooding, allergies and so much more. Plus: Get to know Victim Services Coordinator Amy Spiller, who will be at various Sexual Assault Awareness Month events at Drexel throughout April.

Safety Reminders for the Spring Term

Safety is a collaborative effort, so spring into the new term on the right foot with these safety reminders from Drexel Public Safety (DPS):

Heads up, eyes open, ears free: You’ve probably noticed there’s a lot of construction happening on and around the University City Campus, which can cause evolving sidewalk and road closures as these projects progress. Always keep your head up and refrain from texting or scrolling on personal devices when walking, biking and/or driving, so you can be alert to changes in traffic patterns. Keep at least one ear free of listening devices so that you can hear if you’re being alerted to a potential danger and to recognize if individuals are approaching you from behind. Drexel Real Estate and Facilities posts updates on major construction projects throughout campus on its website.

See something, say something: Reporting suspicious activity or concerns immediately by using Drexel Public Safety’s emergency number — 215.895.2222 — is part of the shared role in campus safety. If you haven’t already, add this number to your phone contacts today.

Download the Drexel Guardian app: If you’re in a situation where you’re unable to call and speak to DPS in an emergency, the Drexel Guardian App allows you to activate a GPS locator that will help Drexel’s dispatchers locate you and send help.  Download the app today to discover all the valuable tools Drexel Guardian offers: iOS / Google Play

Guard against theft: Unattended items result in most of the thefts on campus. Never leave your property unattended, and take that extra step to safeguard our valuables by using DPS’ free property registration service. Items such as bikes, laptops, skateboards, scooters and even cell phones can be brought to Drexel Police Headquarters at 3219 Arch St., where DPS will log item details into a registration system. When you bring your bike to be registered, pick up a free U-lock if you don’t already have one; they are the best and most effective way to secure your bike. We’re also giving away free steering wheel locks for all Drexel affiliates who drive a Hyundai or Kia vehicle.

Cascading Effects of Spring, According to Fire & Emergency Services

Safely Discard Cigarettes in Designated Cans

It’s time to prepare plants and flowers to grow! Fresh mulch has recently been added to flower beds and other areas on campus. Historically around University City Campus, discarded cigarettes are the cause for ignition to this mulch, which may require a Philadelphia Fire Department response. Please help maintain the safety and beauty of campus by using available cigarette disposal cans located throughout campus.

April Showers May Bring Flooding

“April Showers” is a reminder that street and stream flooding can be dangerous while on the go.  Pay attention to weather forecasts and warnings regarding potential flooding. As little as six inches of moving water are enough to cause you to trip while walking or destabilize an automobile. If you notice a large accumulation of water while driving or on foot, “Turn around, don’t drown!”

Allergy Season Is Here

“May Flowers” has its challenges, too. The flower blooms, although beautiful, are also a sign that pollen season is upon us.  And according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, almost one-third of the population experience allergies, the sixth leading cause of chronic illnesses. You can find some preventative actions on the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America website.

Fire Safety While Abroad

Spring can be a busy time for students, faculty or professional staff traveling abroad. While such travel can be exciting, many of us take for granted that the hotels, motels, lodges and homes have the same safety features that we have here in the United States. An organization called Jasmine Jahanshahi Fire Safety Foundation was created by the family and friends of Jasmine Jahanshahi who, in April 2011, was involved in a residential fire in Paris that took the lives of four exchange students and seriously injured dozens more. The apartment building was not equipped with smoke alarms or fire escapes, offering little warning to those inside. Please consider visiting the foundation’s website to review how to bring smoke alarms and other fire safety features with you in the event the host location is lacking these items.

How to Minimize Package Theft

Did you know you can give the delivery company instructions to place your package out of view? Request to have your package placed in a secure location on your property, such as over/behind a fence, behind a chair on your porch, or somewhere else not visible to individuals walking past.

If you don’t have a secure spot, consider the following:

  • Use Amazon delivery lockers; find an Amazon pickup location near you.
  • Require a signature upon delivery.
  • Have your item shipped to a store near you or delivered to a neighbors’ house.
  • Try curbside pickup instead of delivery.
  • Purchase a package lock box for your home.
  • Install cameras to help deter thieves.

For Students in University Housing

Receiving mail at your residence hall may seem a little more complicated than receiving it at your home. Drexel’s Student Mail Service provides helpful information on potential delays in arrival time when not using the U.S. Postal Service, such as how your mail should be addressed to ensure no additional delays and instructions on obtaining your mailbox combination.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (NPSTW)

Source: cisa.gov.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

Each year telecommunicators, more commonly known as dispatchers, are recognized for their behind-the-scenes actions. They are the voices you first hear when you call 911 (or at Drexel, 215.895.2222) in an emergency. The Drexel University Public Safety Communications Center, which acts as the eyes and ears for all campus activity, is staffed 24 hours per day, seven days per week by dispatchers who are certified by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials. During the week of April 14–20, let’s show extra appreciation for the critical roles they play in providing the lifeline between callers and emergency response services. Dispatchers, thank you for your diligence and dedication to the campus community!

Get to Know Us: Victim Services Coordinator Amy Spiller

Amy Spiller is Drexel Public Safety’s victim services coordinator. In this role, Amy provides consultation to Drexel community members about a problem or incident, crisis intervention, referrals, explanation of court and legal proceedings, court accompaniment and transportation, assistance finding Protection From Abuse (PFA) and/or filing a Private Criminal Complaint.

In her eight years as the Drexel University Police Department’s victim services coordinator, Amy Spiller says she has enjoyed developing a rapport with the students that she’s had the privilege of working with, gaining students’ trust, and reducing their fears and anxiety by not only explaining the criminal justice process, but also by making sure students are connected to the resources available to them both on and off campus. In her off-time, Amy enjoys traveling (most recently to Paris and Punta Cana), volunteering at the SPCA and spoiling her two rescue cats.

Amy’s message to the campus: “Remember, if you’re not speaking it, you are storing it, and that gets heavy. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; that is why we are here.”

Amy would also like to share the following information on bystander intervention: “To find ways of increasing your safety or those you care about, RAINN is an excellent resource for risk reduction tips and providing individuals with the confidence to hopefully prevent a sexual assault.” You can come say hello to Amy at some of the upcoming Sexual Assault Awareness Month events, including Denim Day on April 24.

Welcome to DPS, Officer Smolcynski!

The Drexel University Police Department (DUPD) welcomes Officer Sean Smolcynski to the department. Currently in the middle of his field training, Sean came from Delaware County Municipal Police Academy. If you see Officer Smolcynski on patrol, please take a moment and say hello. We wish him the best as he starts his policing career with the DUPD.

Community Commitments

Cookies With Cops: April 16

Public Safety will be on the 10th floor of 3675 Market St. visiting the College of Computing and Informatics Quad starting at 1 p.m. on April 16.  All are welcome to come for some cookies, resources and friendly conversations. Hope to see you there!

USGA students taking a personal safety class.
Drexel Public Safety welcomes these new student instructors to the SAFE team and thanks them for their partnership and dedication on this initiative.

Try DPS’ Two-part SAFE Course

Spring into personal safety with Public Safety’s self-protection program, Self-Awareness for Everyone (SAFE). This two-part course is open to any student, faculty or staff member, and it’s recommended you register with a fellow Dragon. Participation in the techniques is recommended, but not required. Registration via Eventbrite is required 72 hours prior to the class. Classes are also available by request for your group.

Watch a class in action in this video feature created by Drexel students.

  • SAFE I classes will be offered the second week of every month on Monday and Wednesday from 5–7 p.m. Upcoming classes are on May 13 and June 10.
  • SAFE II classes will be offered the fourth week of every month on Monday and Wednesday from 5–7 p.m. and cannot be taken until you have completed SAFE I. Upcoming classes are on April 22 and June 24.

Additional DPS Educational Programs

You can request any of the following presentations and trainings by completing the Request a Presentation Form.

  • Your Safety Is Our Goal: This virtual workshop is a great way to learn how to stay aware of your surroundings and always be prepared, not scared, when moving through the city.
  • Fire & Emergency Services, Emergency Preparedness: Offered by request, these tailored, data-driven awareness and training programs address how to prevent and respond to fires, medical emergencies, elevator entrapments, power outages, gas leaks, and other emergencies.
  • Public Safety & U Workplace Safety Program: This educational program can be customized to address the unique security challenges of your unit.

We Are Here for You When You Need Us

Please call 215.895.2222 immediately if you experience or witness a crime. Drexel’s Public Safety Communications Center is staffed 24/7 to serve you, whether or not you choose to remain anonymous when making a report. It is vital that crimes are reported promptly to Drexel Police so that they can be investigated, and so that Public Safety can connect the victim(s) with proper resources. You can also contact DPS through the Drexel Guardian app.

Emergency Numbers

215.895.2222 or 911
TTY: 215.571.4141

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