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Stay Safe During the Holidays: Tips From Chief Shupp

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At headquarters in Johnson Hall, Lehigh University’s police department monitors the corners of campus via hidden security cameras. It’s one way they’re using technology to keep the community safe.

But even in our high-tech age, some things never change. And when it comes to crime, Lehigh University Police Chief Ed Shupp says that thieves stick to the tried and true. “Most property crimes are crimes of opportunity,” he noted recently, “and during the holidays, there’s lots of opportunity.”

With so much to do this time of year, it’s tempting to cut corners – just toss the shopping bags on the car seat, who has time to stop their newspaper before leaving for the weekend? But these shortcuts are just what a criminal is waiting for. 

“If you are shopping for presents on your lunch hour, just take the extra minute to hide everything in the trunk and stow away your electronic devices,” Chief Shupp recommends.  “Even leaving the suction cup of your GPS on the dashboard can make you a target.”

Common Sense Measures

Here are a few other common sense measures to avoid being a target:
  • Wear your purse close to your body or under your coat
  • Put your wallet in a front coat or pants pocket
  • Lock your valuables in a drawer in your office
  • Ask a neighbor to watch your home and shovel your walks while you’re away
  • Set house lights on a timer.

When it comes to your personal safety, awareness is the watch word. The Chief suggests parking in well-lighted areas, being alert to your surroundings, and always leaving one arm free when you’re walking.

When using ATMs choose one inside a mall or in a well-lit area. Also, remember to protect your PIN and keep your transaction receipt.

Keep in mind that you are the expert when it comes to your own work and neighborhood surroundings. If you see something unusual, don’t hesitate to contact the police. On campus, dial extension 84200 to reach the Lehigh Police.

LU police interacting with studentsFinally, Chief Shupp advises against trying to manage a potentially dangerous situation on your own. As he likes to say, “Our officers are the only ones here who get paid to take a punch.”

Staying Safe On Campus

  • Blue Light Call Boxes are located throughout campus for your safety. If you feel unsafe, use the box!
  • Remember: On campus, dial extension 84200 to reach the police at any time. This is the fastest way to get help.
  • If you suspect a non-emergency crime is occurring or see suspicious activity on campus and you would like to report it anonymously, you can complete a form via the University Police website.

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Spotlight is published monthly by Human Resources. Please address any comments to Hillary Kwiatek, Spotlight Editor, Human Resources, 428 Brodhead Avenue, send email to, or call extension 85165.

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