Western University of Health Sciences employees received a reminder to take simple steps to increase campus safety on Thursday, March 22, 2012.

Community Service Officer Brenda Sutherland from the Pomona Police Department talked to employees about personal safety during a town hall meeting. She reminded people to lock their car doors and hide belongings out of sight before heading to their office.

“The whole idea is when people look in your car, they see nothing – nothing on the seats or on the dashboard,” she said. “What they’re looking for are things they can carry in their hands – phones, GPS, iPods.

“Burglary is nothing but a crime of opportunity,” she said. “If you take the opportunity away, you take away the crime.”

If you take the train or bus, tell someone about your route, Sutherland said. At work, lock valuables in a drawer.

“By taking a few simple precautions, you can reduce your risk to yourself and also discourage crimes being committed against you,” Sutherland said.

WesternU Director of Environmental Health and Safety Brett Boston said he organized the meeting, which he wants to hold every quarter, to get more people involved in talking about safety and reporting suspicious behavior. He spoke with WesternU students last week on the same subject. WesternU has reported a few stolen purses and a theft from a car, but overall the campus is safe.

“In all the years I’ve been here, you have not had any physical altercations on campus,” said Sutherland, a 30-year veteran of the Pomona Police Department. “There’s something that you’re doing well on this campus. The fact that your security is so visible, and your campus is so open, plays a role in that. The design of your campus is very good.”

Sutherland also told employees to have a commanding presence and be aware of their surroundings when walking down the street. Walk in well-lit areas and on well-traveled roads. Do not text or have other distractions while walking. Make eye contact with people.

“When someone is approaching you from behind, turn around and look,” she said. “At the end of the day, I want to go home and see my loved ones. I’m not going to be a target for anyone if I can avoid it.”