Tag Archive | "Public Safety"

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Public Safety amps up surveillance

Posted on 24 September 2008 by Joseph Clark

Returning students may have noticed one of 67 pairs of blue-and-gold signs reminding them “This area may be monitored by Public Safety cameras.”
The signs were installed in conjunction with significant upgrades to DPS’s infrastructure, including 60 new security cameras installed since 2007, and a Command Information Center to monitor them.

Lt. Brian J. Joschko, DPS support systems coordinator, said the Command Center allowed the “Integrating existing cameras with access control and alarm systems.”
Access control allows DPS to unlock doors campus-wide, monitor student’s use of ID cards to enter buildings and rooms, and record the information. Panic alarms are installed throughout campus for staff use, notably wherever cash is handled.

All this data is accessible in a monitoring room completed last semester behind existing dispatch center to house new computers and equipment, most noticeably the 134-inch security camera viewing screen, which can display live footage from any camera on campus. There are 298 cameras on the interiors of campus buildings, 49 on exteriors, and 53 in all the parking garages, or 400 total. Another 16 outdoor cameras have been approved and funded.

All footage is saved for the “average goal” of 30 days, but if a major crime is recorded, the footage is burned and submitted to evidence.
“In our experience here, we’ve not had to go back more than 30 days. Major crimes are usually reported immediately, and even minor crimes like a car being broken into or a bike being stolen is reported in a day or two,” said Joschko.

Joschko demonstrated a laptop which all DPS cars are equipped with, which allows officers to access live camera feeds, and control angling and resolution wirelessly. A camera surveying 16th and State was able to read the license plate of a Jeep half a city block away. Joschko said he did not know the cameras’ exact resolution, which varies by unit, but said the newest and most powerful, the “pride and joy” of the department, can follow objects three to four city blocks away.

Associate Director Capt. Russ Shaw, recounted a Sept. 10 incident in which the Command Information Center proved vital to apprehending a suspect.
Around 5:45 p.m., a 20-year old female student was entering Johnson Hall when an assailant grabbed her wristlet off her backpack. She called DPS on a borrowed cell phone, and gave a description of the suspect. Cameras located the suspect traveling northward on Wisconsin.

“Cameras lost sight as he moved north, but officers got to the scene,” said Shaw. “Tehre were about five seconds between loosing him and the officer saying ‘I got him.’”
“These things usually happen much quicker than they sound on paper,” said Shaw.

Numerous other departments, such as Recreational Sports, Athletics, the Alumni Memorial Union, IT Services, and Residence Life also have access to video from their respective buildings to heighten security, though the rules governing the release of footage is strictly controlled by DPS.

For example, if a student resident were to be caught on camera committing a suspected crime, Public Safety would consult the hall director of the relevant building, because they would be more likely to know the student, said Rick Acuri, Associate Dean of Administration of Residence Life.

When informed about the number of cameras on campus, Meghan Wright, 19, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences “It seems a little extreme. I wish I knew where [the cameras] were. I bet 400 sounds like a big number when you don’t know where they are. Where would they put them all?”

“It makes me feel safe because I park my car on the parking deck. But it kind of makes me fell like Big Brother is watching,” said Wright.

“I saw up by the law school the new signs alerting people to the cameras,” said Daniel Blinka, a professor at the Law School specializing in evidence. “The main deterrent of the video camera is in not keeping [surveillance] a secret, but letting people know. People who, A) can read, and B)will think better of committing some crime for it.”

“If the issue is identification, video can be determinative, so long as a victim or witness can look at it…You can look at that and say, ‘That’s pretty useful,’ but we don’t have audio. But maybe the issue is not [identification],” said Blinka, and cited scenarios where threats and provocations cannot be resolved by surveillance evidence because it lacks audio, such as the filming of the 1991 beating of Rodney King by LAPD officers.

Blinka said he“[does] not believe” in the “CSI effect” written about by many law professors, whereby juries are underwhelmed by circumstantial evidence and demand video or forensic evidence to make their decisions.

“A jury expects each side to come in with the best evidence. Video can be powerful evidence, and if it’s available, and will be used to make a case if either side has it. The demand for video is not coming from juries, but from public officials wanting the best evidence.” said Blinka.

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Delving into Campus Crime: Hitting crime at it’s roots on Marquette’s urban campus.

Posted on 02 April 2008 by Katelyn Ferral


It was the kidnapping and five armed robberies that occurred within the two weeks just prior to Spring Break that made Micaela Robb-McGrath conscious of the realities of crime in District 3.

“Although I thought I was making good choices, I really probably wasn’t making the best choices for my safety,” Robb-McGrath, a sophomore in the College of Communication, said. “The time and circumstances surrounding the incidents, especially the clustering and severity of the crimes showed that I really do need to take proactive steps to be safe on campus.”

With the recent spike in violent crime on campus, the perception of students tends to be that violent crime in the area is increasing.

“I thought crime in the immediate Marquette area was increasing after those events,” Robb-McGrath said.

With nationally recognized student safety programs, Marquette’s Department of Public Safety is looked to as the remedy for crime on campus. Especially in light of the recent violence, DPS has made itself, along with the Milwaukee Police Department available to address concerns and answer questions from the Marquette community, as was seen in a March 10 forum. However, despite the efforts of DPS, some students still have reservations about the level of safety on campus.

“Those crimes were just jarring and shocking,” Julie Knyszek, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said. “When they’re separated out you don’t think about it as much as when it all happens in one week.”

District 3 does have higher numbers of violent crime than other areas of Milwaukee, but, according to the MPD Web site, violent crime, including robberies, has actually decreased by 62 percent since 1990.

The expansion of DPS, not only in numbers, but in the continual creation of effective student safety programs also affects crime trends. Since his start with DPS in 1985, Captain Russell Shaw said the department has grown three times its original size.

“As far as personal crime goes, since the late 90s, it has decreased at Marquette,” Shaw said. “With the recent spike in robberies, the perception might be the opposite, but in reality the numbers are lower.”


In the most recent robbery that occurred over spring break on W. Wisconsin Ave., Shaw said all of the five suspects came from outside of District 3 to commit the crime.

“The majority of violent crime around campus committed is from those outside our area,” Shaw said. “It’s often a crime of opportunity; in a lot of these cases they’re just riding through here.”

As far as increased security measures are concerned, Shaw said the department continues to add more cameras and has cut vacation time to be able to keep a high level of manpower in the department and more officers on the streets.

“We’re creating more overtime and trying to saturate the area as much as we can to have more squads out there,” Shaw said.

In terms of crime, Marquette is a very safe area to be living in, but taking preventative measures along with gaining a broader understanding of violent crime in the area makes a difference in decreasing a student’s chances of being a victim, said Shaw.

“It’s important to look at the big picture outside the patrol area, students never think crime is going to happen to them and it gets frustrating when students don’t take advantage of the safety programs” Shaw said. “A decent amount of students come from rural areas and it takes time to adjust to the urban environment, but students need to be totally aware of their surroundings.”

Despite complaints that DPS is not always upfront about the nature of the severity of campus crimes, Shaw maintains the department does not try to withhold information.

“We’re not trying to hide things when we put information about an incident out there,” Shaw said.

The need for departmental discretion when dealing with crime information is also present in the relationship between MPD and the public. “We weigh the need for people to know about the crimes with the need for a successful resolution,” MPD District 3 Captain James Harpole said.

A new approach to community policing, with a focus on building and fostering relationships between DPS, MPD and residents of the community is becoming an increasingly prevalent and effective way to control crime.

“It was an error of the past to look at community policing as just a program. It is not a program, but a method of operation, focusing on responding to the needs of the community,” Harpole said. “We are working towards becoming proactive instead of reactive like we are now. Our goal is to get rid of the visible signs of disorder and crime. We need to stop people from coming from other areas into District 3 to buy drugs and sex.”


With the limited resources that exist in all communities, learning to balance and work with budgets at the state and local levels is a recurrent challenge of law enforcement at Marquette and in Milwaukee.

“It can be difficult, because preventing crime is resource intensive, and when there are visible signs that something is happening on the street, it adds to that negative perception of the neighborhood,” Jeffrey Altenburg, Marquette alumnus and Director of the Community Based Prosecution Unit for Milwaukee County, said. “Our early priority has been to get a plan in place, where we’re looking for results on violent crime and we’re committed to use info to get specific resources.”

The emphasis on personal relationships, not only between police and the community but also within the department, is the focus of MPD, which “continues to be intelligence led, data driven and proactive,” Altenburg said.

Graduating from Marquette in 1986, Altenburg said that when he was a student, Public Safety was not the advanced policing force it has since become.

“When I was at Marquette, DPS was more like mall security,” Altenburg said. “But the transformation of the department did not happen overnight, you’ll get returns where you put resources in.”

Despite the strides DPS has and continues to make, the realities of an urban environment make crime nearly inevitable.

“I understand crime is not their fault because there’s only so much power in the department and they’re limited by so many factors,” Knyzsek said. “When crime increases they only use what they have available, but I would like MPD to be more available on campus,” Knyszek said.

Although students’ perceptions may be that more cops equal less crime, Harpole said more cops doesn’t necessarily equate to a safer neighborhood.

“For the number of people at Marquette, crime is low,” Harpole said. “Crime happens everywhere, but in Milwaukee we already have this perception that it’s crime filled, but it’s really an anomaly. You can’t condemn the neighborhood and be paralyzed by fear; sometimes we look at such a small snapshot in time when it’s not always accurate.”

As much as crime is stopped by law enforcement, the prosecution of crime plays a pivotal role in diminishing crime in District 3. However, because of budget restrictions and resource limitations, the District Attorney’s office has looked to alternatives outside the criminal justice system, better suited to deal with specific offenses, Altenburg said.

“We’ve been getting smarter about how you bring people into the criminal justice system, you have to preserve limited resources for violent individuals,” Altenburg said. “We’re not soft on crime, we’re tough on crime, but when you lose 20 prosecutors in the DA’s office you have to make tough decisions.”

In addition to understanding what works in the criminal justice system, Altenburg maintains identity is key to cutting crime.

“More neighborhood identity, and relationships and communication improve crime in the community,” Altenburg said.


As much as law enforcement and prosecutors impact crime in the area, the redevelopment of the business district around Marquette and revitalization of buildings in the community in recent years has played a critical role in violent crime development.

“There really has been a steady, but dramatic downward trend in crime in District 3,” June Moberly, executive director of the Avenues West Association, the local neighborhood revitalization association said. “The investment and reinvestment in businesses and upgrading buildings in the community has had a real impact.”

The Avenues West Association works with businesses in District 3 to improve property management practices and to create a safer environment. The association also works with landlords in the area, encouraging them not to rent to troubled tenants, said Moberly.

Currently the Association is working on infrastructure reinvestments, pedestrian lightings and 27th St. main streets program in the neighborhood. Business and building improvements to the neighborhood has increased property values in the last 13 years.

According to the Avenues West Association’s 2007 Annual Report in comments made by Association President and Marquette Vice President of the Office of Public Affairs Rana Altenburg, “property values within the Avenues West Business Improvement District rose from $46,524,890 in 1993 to $92,953,229 in 2006.

Despite increased real estate values, poverty is still a concern in District 3. “District 3 is home to a more poverty stricken community, and with that higher level of poverty, there tends to be more crime,” Harpole said.

Along with poverty, the Ambassador Hotel, which catered to prostitutes and extensive drug activity in the mid-80s, also played a large role in crime, and contributed to a perception of the community around Marquette as blighted and dangerous.

“Business districts help communities thrive, but when they decline, and there’s that perception that businesses are boarded up, the trend tends to be that homeowners leave and renters come in,” Harpole said.

However, with neighborhood improvements in Avenues West, there continues to be a stronger element of home ownership. As Marquette also purchases property in the area and renovates it, the perception of District 3 improves.

“The investments Marquette has made have been instrumental in improving the area,” Harpole said. “Marquette’s vision for the area has played a huge role in the rebirth of the region with the Ambassador Hotel renovation and other recent developments.”

Part 2
by Robert Fafinski III

For Mike Heim, senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, though, all these facts and figures came crashing down on him one night in late 2006. On an otherwise normal evening at Marquette, Heim, a thrower on the Track team, was walking back from studying at the Al McGuire Center.

“I saw two black guys coming at me with a purpose, I had a moment of indecision-thought ‘what do I do?’-and then it happened… the first guy grabbed me, pulled me onto the grass. I tensed up to fight, and that’s when I saw the other guy pointing a gun at me.”

Heim is not someone a person would normally associate with being the victim of a crime. A thrower on the Track team, Heim’s size and strength are considered some of his greatest assets. He’s 6’6” and weighs 270 pounds. He is a big guy. But now, Heim realizes his size only gave him a false sense of security.
“I have no more illusions that I can’t get picked on because I’m big,” he said in an interview Monday.

After the initial shock wore off and Heim realized that he was being mugged, he attempted to look at the men for distinguishing features, something he hoped could be used for subsequent police efforts. That’s when the scariest thing happened.

“After the confusion wore off, I started to look up because I may have had to identify the guys. That’s when the guy thrust up the gun at my face and said, ‘Don’t f—— look at me or I’ll shoot your ass.”

It’s at this point that looking back Heim is finally actually able to find a little humor in the incident.
“When he said that, I stuck my chin waaay down on my chest I was so scared I did whatever they said.”

When the men had taken all of Heim’s personal property, they told him to walk back the way he had come while they mad their getaway.

“When they had everything, they said ‘turn back and walk back the way you came- don’t turn around or I’ll shoot you.’ And I believed them.”
Heim then stumbled upon two unsuspecting Marquette women who let him into their apartment and called DPS. Heim was physically safe, but the damage to his psyche was just setting in.


Marquette University Public Safety acted very professionally and caring, according to Heim. Despite his shaken state, the first officer on the scene was very helpful- suggesting counseling and even giving Heim a pamphlet about identity theft.
“I thought [DPS was] awesome. They were patient because I was speaking a mile a minute. The officer was really nice. He talked to me about victim counseling. He also told me, ‘this is a traumatic crime. If at any point in the future you feel nervous or need someone to talk to, just pick up a Blue Light Phone and one of our officers will just pick you up and drive you home.’”
Heim did, in fact, utilize the victim counseling services offered by Marquette. Often after a traumatic crime, the victim will not feel comfortable talking about his feelings to someone who has not had a shared experience. So Heim was a little apprehensive about going to counseling.

But, he said, “It did help. I mean, those people are trained to understand. It gave me something to bounce my frustrations off of. It was someone to talk to and [Marquette University] really prepared a lot of support for me.”
What was not “awesome” for Heim was the criminal outcome. The two men were never found. They used his debit card a few times over the next hour or so, but then the trail went cold.


When the DPS officers arrived at the apartment after the mugging, Heim was finally safe. The muggers could not get to him. But just because he was physically safe did not mean the damage was done.

It is not easy for Heim to talk about it, but that the mugging really does stay with him on a daily basis while on Marquette’s campus.

“I’m still having trouble with it…It really changes your perception of things,” he said. “I’d hear a noise that usually wouldn’t startle me and I’d jump right out of my seat.”

After the robbery, Heim took steps to avoid being the victim of another traumatic crime. He was much more cognizant of people around him on campus. He used Marquette’s LIMO program. But this year, his vigilance began to wane. But with the recent wave of criminal activity on campus, Heim has largely returned to his vigilant ways.

“You know, I try not to walk home by myself anymore, especially realizing this crime spree recently. I take LIMOS and get rides after the sun goes down,” he said. “Whenever I walk anywhere off of Wisconsin Avenue, my head’s on a swivel.”
In all, Heim says he lost a little over $300 worth of property. Not bad considering he had a pistol pointed at his face for a few minutes. But even worse than the monetary loss for Heim is the loss of innocence.

“The worst thing they did is take away my sense of security,” he said. “Obviously, I wasn’t comfortable here at Marquette.”

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Elevator first, safety second

Posted on 07 November 2007 by Jack Jostes

It’s rather ridiculous how reckless people can be when they’re in a hurry. I work as a desk receptionist at Mashuda Hall, which has two elevators that lift people up and down the seven floors.

Each day I see at least five people come pretty close to death or at least a severe, bloody maiming. The elevator door is five inches from being closed, and then some freak will whip his hand, leg, elbow, or in some extreme cases — his skull — in the closing gap hoping, dear God, that it will bounce back open so they can board the elevator.

You’re going to put your head in front of a closing mechanical door?

“I have faith in the engineers who built the elevators, tried and true,” said Arts and Sciences senior John Bukowy, who slithers through closing elevator doors whenever possible. “I like to live dangerously.”

Faith in engineers? Faith? How about some patience? Why not wait another three minutes for the next elevator, or heck, take the stairs, baby cakes. It’s worth the wait.

“Last week the sensor was malfunctioning, and the elevator door was still closing,” Mashuda Hall Facilities Manager Russell Craze said. “I saw a girl get nailed because she was expecting the door to stop, and it certainly didn’t.”

Yeah, it’ll happen just like that. Hand in closing gap one minute, hand in a bloody pulp the next.

People need to slow down and think about what they’re doing. Or else, they’ll learn the lesson the hard way — bloody, gruesome maiming or sweet, ghastly death by squashing.

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How does Marquette’s L.I.M.O. service measure against other schools?

Posted on 06 December 2006 by Katie Pope

In light of the recent critiques of Marquette’s L.I.M.O. service, The Warrior investigated alternative programs at other universities. Here is an overview of our findings: Continue Reading

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Is campus safe? Yes

Posted on 08 November 2006 by Nicole Larson

With many prisoners being released in major cities around the country, such as Detroit and St. Louis, there are many safety concerns surrounding urban campus life. Milwaukee is no exception. With one of the highest increased crime rates, many parents are feeling nervous about their college children. Marquette is one of the most highly secured campuses, however, and it has an obligation to students and parents that it does not take lightly. Although there are concerns about the Marquette campus not being safe, it is simply not true. Marquette ensures the safety of its students and faculty by taking extra precautions and offering many different safety options in all areas of student life.One such service that Marquette provides is student security escorts to accompany students around campus. A student can call the Department of Public Safety and two security members will meet with the person and walk him or her to the necessary destination. These students are easy to reach, and they wear bright yellow jackets so that they can be seen from far away.

Blue lights are another safety tool Marquette uses to ensure the well-being of all members of the university. These blue lights can be found on just about every street corner and can be used 24 hours a day. If at any time a student feels unsafe or threatened, he or she can push the button on the blue light, and Public Safety officers will immediately come to a student’s location. These are very helpful, especially late at night. Everyone in the communities in and around Marquette is aware of the blue lights, so they may help deter offenders off as well as bring public safety to the scene.

The dorm policy for entering and visitng is yet another precaution Marquette takes to keep students safe. Two student workers are on duty all day in each residence hall, and Public Safety officers take over for the late-night hours. A student must provide official Marquette identification which will be swiped in order to allow access to the building. This particular precaution exists so that people from the neighboring areas cannot walk into the residence hall without proper permission. Along the same lines, if a student wants to bring a visitor to stay for the night, the student must have paperwork filled out ahead of time so that the university is aware of who is in the building at all times.

Another valuable service Marquette offers its students is Local Inercampus Mobil Operation (LIMO) vans. These vans are accessible from the hours of 5 p.m. through 3 a.m. to any student who needs a ride for any reason. “The limos are great, especially on a cold night,” commented Brigid Brennan, “and it’s a relief when I’m wearing heels and my feet hurt after a long night to get a ride back home.” A student can call the Public Safety office, and a LIMO van will pick that student up in a timely manner from their location. This is useful in late-night situations when students may not feel safe walking back to their residence halls. These vans are always driving at night and can be flagged down by any blue light if a student cannot remember the telephone number.

Through Marquette’s excellent Public Safety services, there are also self defense classes available to students on campus free of charge, and they put out a newsletter informing students of current events and programs they sponsor. The Public Safety offices are located across the street from McCormick Hall on 16th street, and they are open 24 hours a day. The officers are friendly and always willing to help students anyway they are able.

When I first decided to attend Marquette, I was initially nervous because I had never lived in an urban setting. My mom was more nervous about my safety than I was, so we did some research online about the safety at Marquette, and it eased our fears about my safety. I can honestly say that I have not felt threatened since arrived. I walk to my residence hall on 16th Street from 11th Street from campus activities, and I have never felt unsafe. With a blue light on each block, LIMO vans circling continuously along with Public Safety officers everywhere, I know I am safe. Marquette is a safe community, and if a student is fully informed on ways to stay safe and all the services the university has to offer, there is no need to fear.

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Is campus safe? No

Posted on 08 November 2006 by James Diamond

One way to get a feel for campus safety is to ask someone who was a victim of crime. After all, safety is just as much of a feeling as it is compiled of statistics. My roommate recently became a victim of armed robbery on the corner of 16th and State streets, right outside our house. A gun was pulled on him, and the robbers stole his backpack, wallet and cell phone. My roommate is now a faithful customer of Marquette’s L.I.M.O. service, because he feels unsafe traveling alone for even a few blocks. One aspect of attending a city school is living with city problems. Unfortunately for Marquette students, Milwaukee has had the biggest crime increase of cities with populations of 250,000 or more. According to a June 14, 2006 article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, murders and assaults in Milwaukee have “soared.”

This follows an overall increase of crime throughout the Midwest.

Clearly Milwaukee has its share of crime-related problems. Our immediate concern, however, is campus safety. Records from the Milwaukee Police Department during the month of October show Marquette’s campus is feeling the burn. For instance, there were eight robberies, three aggravated assaults, three burglaries, five motor vehicle thefts, two shots fired (both in the past week) and 33 thefts.

Although these numbers are serious, they do not compare to those found just outside the DPS patrol zone. Just north and west of Marquette, crime is more severe. How are we to feel safe on campus when our nearby neighbors are being mugged? There is no way to isolate ourselves from the problems of the community, and this directly relates to the uneasy feeling students get when they walk home at night.

For those of us living outside Marquette-owned property, crime is especially a concern. Not only do these students experience increased rates in theft and burglary, they also have to deal with the presence of convicted sexual offenders. Twelve offenders live near these students.

Another sign that Marquette’s campus is not particularly safe is suggested in the different habits students have adopted. One female student who attended a Public Safety self-defense class told me she no longer keeps her hair in a ponytail when walking alone at night. This makes sense, because if someone would attack her from behind, she would have a much better chance of pulling away if the attacker can only grab a portion of her hair. Another female student said she always turns around to glance at whomever is walking behind her. After taking note of height, weight and physical appearance, she feels safer knowing she could pick someone out of a lineup.

If we accept the reality that Marquette is not a safe campus, we have to look for solutions. Marquette’s recent addition of lampposts was noble, but it has to go further. My roommate was robbed partly due to poor lighting. Marquette has to work with off-campus housing to address this issue if Marquette students don’t just live on campus. One female student has suggested that more DPS officers should patrol campus on bike and on foot. This suggestion came after an officer patrolling in a car failed to even look at her while she was alone in a dark alley. A few students have suggested the Milwaukee Police Department should have an increased presence on campus, due to their broad jurisdiction and more visible authority.

One more way to increase campus safety is to change the location of where dollars are invested. I know my tuition dollars are going toward impenetrable dorm security, and it seems like off-campus housing students are getting the short end of the deal. Those on the campus borders need more security. Even if Marquette shifts the majority of its security to its borders, the heart of campus will remain safe. Crime simply cannot penetrate an area so congested with traffic and people.

Many of us chose Marquette without giving much thought to the issue of security. This is because an environment of education is expected to be safe. Now that we are faced with reality, let’s not be discouraged that crime on campus exists; rather, let’s focus on how to get rid of it.

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Marquette Self-Defense, a class all its own

Posted on 01 February 2006 by Allison Herre

Many students are not aware of all the programs on campus that are meant to ensure their safety.  The Department of Public Safety is on-call twenty-four hours a day, everyday of the year.  The L.I.M.O. services operate year round, and even after three a.m. students can call Public Safety officers for a ride home.

The self-defense classes, in particular, give students much needed knowledge in the area of self-preservation.  The classes, which are free-of-charge for Marquette students, provide students with additional resources and techniques for tackling dangerous situations.

Led by DPS officers Sue Cooper and Amy Oltendorf, these classes focus on the basic message of awareness.  “Be confident of yourself,” was the officers’ primary piece of advice.”

“Remember to breathe,” was Oltendorf’s opening mantra.  Breath support enables the victim to retain oxygen in the brain, which reduces panic.  Given the amount of fear that an attack invokes, keeping a semi-cool head increases the chance of a safe get-away.

The most effective way to approach a dangerous situation is to stand with one foot behind the other and evenly distributing weight so as to maintain balance.  Known as the power stance, this posture was the basic foundation for many of the maneuvers introduced.

Throughout the class, Oltendorf and Cooper demonstrate a plethora of maneuvers for different target areas on the body.  For example, in close proximity to an attacker, the palm and elbows can be effective tools in escaping an attacker.

Major pressure points on the body include: the nose, throat, sides of the neck, abdomen and rib cage, groin, knees, shins, and top of the foot near the ankle.

In the event of an attack, it is wise to manipulate these areas in order to cause the assailant pain.  This will leave the attacker preoccupied long enough for a quick escape.

Techniques for a target area, such as the face and neck, are useful when the attacker is within arm’s length.  A simple upward thrust with the heel of the hand into the base of the nose administers lots of pain to the assailant.

During an attack, a perpetrator may get the victim into a bear-hug hold.  In this event, Cooper and Oltendorf suggest dropping to the floor while lifting the arms above the head so as to keep the attacker from following to the ground.

When the assailant has its victim by the wrist or arm, pulling in the direction with the least amount of coverage is most effective.  This action breaks the hold on the thumb and index finger, which allows the quarry to escape.

Sometimes victims fall to the ground or are pushed, in which case the officers showed two techniques to ward off injury.  In the first, the victim lays on one hip and is propped up on one elbow.  This allows the victim to kick at the attacker and pivot effectively.

The second tactic is used when the attacker has the victim pinned on the ground.  The victim merely locks one of the assailant’s feet with their own foot, lifts their hips off the ground while sliding their arms above their head, and twisting towards the locked foot.  This destabilizes the villain and ultimately throws them off the victim.

If one or more of the techniques does not seem to be working, Cooper and Oltendorf advise students to try different maneuvers until they are able to get away or find assistance.

Students who have taken the class praise the amount of information and the ease of understanding the self-defense tactics.

“The class made me feel confident that I could get out of a dangerous situation,” said freshman Cara McCallum.

Pertaining to the in-class, hands-on activities, which included punching bags, freshman Katie Buchholz said:  “I like[d] the bags and being able to practice.  I can use [the roll maneuver] on my brother.”

The more practical material, such as not exhibiting fear in the face of a potential assailant, is advice every person living in a metropolitan area can use. These classes are just one way students at Marquette can optimize their safety and awareness on campus.

Classes are available on a call-and-schedule basis; group sessions are welcome.  You can reach the DPS Office of Crime Prevention to schedule a class by calling: (414) 288-5854.

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