Pay attention while walking around campus

By Postie Editors

Oakland University proudly boasts one of the lowest crime rates in Oakland County. That being said, it is still important to remember that crime does happen. The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States reminded us that it can happen anywhere.

Research has shown that terrorists take time to plan their attacks before they actually follow through. Reporting suspicious activity to the police, no matter how minor it may appear, can help stop a terrorist attack before it happens.

In order to maintain a high level of security on campus, the OU Police Department needs students, faculty and staff to be a vital link between the campus community and law enforcement officers. One way to become that link is to be vigilant and report any situation that appears to be out of the ordinary.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security advises that the following examples are some behaviors to look for:



If terrorists are targeting a specific area they will most likely be observed in that area during the planning phase. It is important to note suspicious actions such as someone using cameras, being in possession of blue prints, drawing diagrams or annotating on maps.


Seeking information

This includes anyone attempting to gain information about a place, person or operation. Examples would be someone inquiring about a critical infrastructure like a power plant, water reservoir or tunnel usage.


Tests of security  

This involves testing the law enforcement response to certain incidents, including the number of officers responding, the routes taken and response time.


Acquiring supplies

This can be a situation in which someone is purchasing or stealing weapons, explosives, ammunition or harmful chemicals. Terrorists may also attempt to acquire uniforms, identification and equipment that would help them to gain access to secured or prohibited areas.


Suspicious people who do not belong 

This could be a suspicious person who appears to be out of place. It could be someone on campus that does not fit in because of their demeanor or unusual questions he or she is asking.


Trial run

Multiple dry runs may be conducted at or near the target to gain intelligence and to work out the flaws in the plan. This is the best chance to intercept and stop an attack. You may observe the terrorist planning the attack if you find him or her monitoring a police radio frequency, mapping out routes, timing traffic lights and traffic flow or you may observe someone engaging in repetitive behavior.


Deploying assets/getting into position

This is when people and supplies are getting into position to commit the act. This is your last chance to alert authorities before the terrorist act occurs.

Any of these seven signs of terrorism may be indicators that something is not right and should be reported to the Oakland University Police Department immediately. Nothing is too insignificant. This does not mean we should profile individuals, but it does mean we should profile behaviors. The Oakland University Police Department requests your assistance in helping to keep OU safe. You can call the OUPD at 248-370-3331 or text to [email protected].


The Five W’s

If reporting suspicious behavior to the OUPD please remember The 5 W’s:

– What is happening?

– Who is doing it?

– Where is it taking place?

– When did you observe it?

n Why is the behavior suspicious?

Nicole Thompson is an Oakland University Police Department Sergeant. Email her at [email protected]