Partnering with Duke Police to Enhance Safety

Students, employees asked to report suspicious behaviors, too

Devon Jenkins, a senior apartment operations maintenance mechanic on Central Campus, inspects a new lock installed on sliding glass doors in Central Campus apartments. New locks have been added to front doors as well. Photo by Bryan Roth.

As students return to campus and the new academic year approaches, members of the Duke University Police Department remind community members that they are valuable partners in maintaining a safe campus. While most campus crime involves theft of personal property, Duke has been taking steps to enhance safety and security across campus.

Among adjustments being made following incidents this summer,, the Duke University Police Department has added additional staffing to patrols throughout East and Central campuses, at bus stops and will have officers walking the Al Buehler Trail. Groundskeepers are also changing the way they trim trees and plants to provide greater visibility on Central Campus. That includes "limbing up" trees to make sure no branches come below eight feet from the ground and trimming bushes so none are taller than about three feet.

Maintenance crews have also finished installing new locks on apartments on Central Campus that lock automatically whenever a door is closed, rather than leaving it up to choice whether to lock a door or not. Enhanced locks have also been added to sliding glass doors, so a latch automatically locks any time a glass door is closed, in addition to a lock on the door's handle.

"Locking our doors is an easy way to prevent crimes on campus, so taking an extra step to eliminate the chance of an incident was an important enhancement to make," said John Dailey, chief of Duke Police. "Our goal is to encourage attitudes and behaviors that create an environment where safety is a shared responsibility and criminals don't feel comfortable."

Duke Police officers have noted a common target of recent thefts has been cell phones. Eric Hester, crime prevention officer with Duke Police, said students, faculty and staff should make an effort to protect their property by ensuring it isn't unattended. Hester also recommended not allowing strangers to use the cell phone.

In addition, here are a few easy tips for personal and property safety:

  • In vehicles, stow property from plain view and secure windows and doors.
  • Lock offices or rooms and secure belongings in locked drawers while away.
  • Don't prop open doors, especially ones accessed with a DukeCard or key.
  • Alert police to strangers or suspicious activity by calling Duke Police at (919) 684-2444.