Public Safety posts displayed by tag

Pecha promoted to full captain

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Police Force has promoted Erik Pecha to the full rank of Police Captain for Public Safety. A University employee since 2015, Pecha had served at UMB as a lieutenant, a security shift commander, and an acting captain before his promotion July 10.

Capt. Martinez Davenport, MS, the UMB Police Force’s interim chief, said Pecha scored the highest among all candidates interviewed for the captain’s post. “I am very proud of him,” Davenport said. “He will be a great help to me and to the University.”

Pecha joined the University after serving for 21 years in the Baltimore Police Department, where he handled narcotics investigations and other criminal probes, earning promotions to sergeant, lieutenant, and captain before his retirement. He also received a Bronze Star for valor, three unit citations, and a commendation for putting his life in danger to assist others.

A 1993 graduate of Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., Pecha and his wife, Stephanie, have five children, ages 19 to 4. In his spare time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, and gardening.

— Lou Cortina

Lou Cortina People, UMB News, University LifeAugust 31, 20170 comments
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Protect Your Car From Thieves

Car theft appears to be on the rise nationally. The National Insurance Crime Bureau says anti-theft technologies that had been keeping car thieves at bay in recent years have led criminals to become more clever, preying on rental car fleets or using falsified ownership titles.

Locally, stolen auto was just one of two categories to increase (by one incident) in the otherwise sterling 2016 UMB Police Force crime report. So what steps can we take to deter car thieves?

Some of the following are just plain common sense. For instance, lock the car. Don’t leave it running with the keys inside. Even the stars of “Dumb and Dumber” could grasp those tips. Yet experts say 50 percent of all vehicles stolen are left unlocked.

Other safety tips are more subtle.

When purchasing auto stereo equipment, choose items that can be removed and locked in the trunk. Out of sight is out of mind for car thieves. This also applies to a laptop or gym bag left in plain sight on your passenger seat. It’s a temptation some thieves can’t resist.

And “stay aware of your surroundings,” urges Cpl. J.R. Jones, safety awareness officer in UMB’s Department of Public Safety. “Just like we tell pedestrians to keep their heads up and notice what’s going on around them, the same applies to drivers. Be aware of cars around you on the road. Know the route you are going before leaving the garage.”

There have been cases of “bump and rob” in Baltimore where carjackers bump your car from the rear, then steal it when you get out to look for damage. If another car bumps yours and you feel threatened, drive to a populated area or, if you have a cell phone, call 911 or the UMB Police Force (6-6882 on campus). If you do get out of your vehicle, turn it off and take your keys or fob with you. If confronted with a “your keys or your life” demand, turn the keys over.

“There are other cars out there but there is only one you,” Jones says.

Here are some other tips to deter car thieves:

  • Park in busy, well-lit areas
  • If using valet parking, only turn over your ignition key (or better yet, your valet key that doesn’t open other parts of your car)
  • Never hide a second set of keys in your car
  • Completely close car windows
  • Park your vehicle with the wheels turned toward the curb
  • Always use your emergency brake
  • Do you have a garage at home? If so, use it.

These tips don’t guarantee a theft won’t occur, but they do improve your odds. For more safety tips, visit the UMB Public Safety website.

– Chris Zang

Chris ZangBulletin Board, Community Service, Education, For B'more, People, University LifeMarch 3, 20170 comments
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President's Message

March President’s Message

Check out the March issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on the UMBrella Coaching Program, a story on Wes Moore’s presentation on accountability in the Core Values Speaker Series, Karen Fisher launching the President’s Panel on Politics and Policy, a look ahead to Goldie Blumenstyk’s speech on higher education in that series on March 21 and our quarterly Q&A on March 28, a CURE Corner item on the School of Dentistry, and a safety tip on avoiding car theft.

Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAMarch 3, 20170 comments
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Pearl Street Warning

Using Pearl Street as a shortcut to Lexington Street to avoid traffic on Greene and Saratoga streets can be a big mistake — a $90 mistake.

The UMB Police Force says drivers going the wrong way on Pearl Street is happening more often as the bottleneck at Saratoga and Greene streets worsens at rush hour. A clear violation of Article 21-308(a) in the Maryland Motor Vehicle Laws, failure to drive designated one-way direction on posted roadway, taking this shortcut will soon result in tickets.

“We know sitting in traffic can be frustrating,” says Lt. Erik Pecha of the UMB Police Force, who points out the ticket carries a $90 fine and one point if found guilty and $130 fine and three points if the violation contributes to an accident. “But the UMB Police Force is committed to maintaining public safety so if this practice continues, tickets will be handed out. We don’t want to see a head-on accident result from someone driving the wrong way on Pearl Street.”

Faculty, staff, and students, please drive safely and follow the rules of the road. Your University colleagues’ safety can depend upon it.

— Chris Zang

Chris ZangBulletin Board, Community Service, Education, For B'more, People, UMB News, University LifeFebruary 15, 20171 comment
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Safety Tips

Don’t Walk and Talk or Text

Stay safe with these tips!

Basic Safety Habits

  • Carry your ID with emergency contact information
  • Bring along a phone and a small amount of cash
  • Don’t walk alone
  • Cross at crosswalks or intersections – jaywalking increases your risk of a serious accident

*Motorists are not required to stop for jaywalking pedestrians. If you are jaywalking, you must yield to vehicles.

Headphones/Cell Phones

  • Never walk while wearing headphones – it decreases your awareness of your surroundings by separating you from your environment’s “auditory clues” – with headphones on you can easily miss loud obstacles like cars, trains, and ambulances.
  • Cell phone use, while walking, not only puts your personal safety at risk by decreasing your ability to hear cars and other noisy obstacles along your path, it also decreases your awareness, which can make you a target for attack.

Do Not Walk Alone

Your odds of being attacked are decreased by 50 percent if you are with another person or even walking a dog. Walking with a companion is a strong crime deterrent.

Follow Your Intuition

  • Trust your gut. If you feel like something is not right, go to a more populated area or cross the street.
  • If a car comes up to you that seems suspicious, run the opposite way.

What to Do If You Are in Jeopardy

  • If you feel that your personal safety is in jeopardy, one of the most important things to do is draw attention to yourself.
    1. Screaming, jumping or whistling can draw attention your way – do whatever it takes to draw eyes to you.
    2. If you are near your car, sound the alarm on your key fob.
    3. If you are in your car, honk the horn.

Always remember, your personal belongings are replaceable – your life is not.


Dana Rampolla UMB News, University LifeFebruary 3, 20170 comments
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Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrian Safety

It seems like we are regularly inundated with messages about the positive effects of walking. While we know it is good for our health (and, in turn, good for the environment), before we head out for a stroll across campus, a walk to the parking garage, a power walk, or to run an errand, there are important safety tips to remember. As a pedestrian, our eyes and ears are our best tools for keeping safe. It is paramount that we stay alert; the question is how do we do that successfully?

Walk in Safe Places

  • When walking on a sidewalk, walk in the middle of the sidewalk and walk facing oncoming traffic.
  • Stay on sidewalks whenever possible.
  • If a sidewalk is not available, walk on the far side of the road facing traffic. This will help increase your visibility to drivers.
  • Use crosswalks when crossing the street. If a crosswalk is unavailable, be sure to find the most well lit spot on the road to cross and wait for a long enough gap in traffic to make it safely across the street.

Be Visible

  • Avoid walking alone whenever possible.
  • Never hitchhike. It is not worth the risk.
  • Stay in well-lit areas, especially when crossing the street.
  • Increase your visibility at night by carrying a flashlight and wearing retro-reflective clothing.
  • If possible, make eye contact with drivers in stopped vehicles to ensure they see you before you cross in front of them. Never assume a driver will give you the right of way.
  • Make every effort to make eye contact with the driver of a stopped or approaching vehicle before entering the roadway.
  • If followed or threatened by someone who is walking, use a whistle, personal alarm, or scream loudly, cross the street and run in the opposite direction.
  • If you carry a purse, carry it close to your body, preferably in front. If It has a shoulder strap, wear it over your head and across your chest or abdomen so no one can grab it off of your shoulder.

Stay Alert—Avoid Distractions

  • Avoid distractions, such as using electronic devices (especially phones) that take your attention off the road.
  • Do not wear headphones as they prohibit you from hearing what is going on around you.
  • Never wear expensive jewelry or carry large amounts of cash when walking.
  • Do not carry money or credit cards other than what you absolutely need.
  • Keep a record of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home. Option: Make a photocopy of all your cards and file the information safely in your home file cabinet or on a computer.
  • When walking, try not to overload yourself with packages or other items. Keep your hands as free as possible and your visibility unobstructed.

 Follow the Rules

  • Know and follow all traffic rules, signs and signals.
  • Press the pedestrian signal button and wait for the walk signal when crossing the street.
  • Always stop at the curb and look left, right, and left before crossing a street.
  • Be conscious and yield to cars turning into or leaving driveways.
  • Key rules to observe when walking: motorists are not required to stop for pedestrians who are crossing the street when the walker is not within a crosswalk. The walker must yield the right of way to a vehicle if crossing the road at a place other than in a marked crosswalk.

Avoid Alcohol Consumption

  • Almost half of all traffic crashes resulting in pedestrian casualties involve alcohol consumption. Surprisingly, 34 percent of that total was on the part of the pedestrian. Alcohol impairs your decision-making skills, physical reflexes and other abilities just as much on your feet as it does behind the wheel.

To arrange a police van escort or walking escort, call 6-6882 on a campus telephone or 410-706-6882 (off-campus) and a uniformed officer will be sent to your location. Riders are required to have either a UMB or UMMC ID. For more information, visit UMB Escort Services.

Tips courtesy of:
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
AAA Exchange
The University of Texas at San Antonio

Dana RampollaBulletin Board, University LifeDecember 20, 20160 comments
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Dark Danger

While you’re “falling back” an hour to celebrate the end of daylight saving time on Nov. 6, do it with caution. Experts say such time changes bring an increase in safety incidents.

Evening rush hour, enveloped by darkness once the clocks change, is a particular culprit. Drivers aren’t used to the decreased visibility and neither are pedestrians, who might take chances crossing streets when they shouldn’t.

In addition, drivers are drowsier in the darker environment.

UMB’s departments of Public Safety and Parking and Transportation Services advise taking the following precautions this time of year:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings
  2. Don’t walk and talk on your cell phone
  3. Use the walking/van escort service (simply call 6-6882 or 410-706-6882 and a uniformed officer will be sent to your location)
  4. Walk with at least one other individual

If you have other parking or safety concerns, please visit the UMB police feedback web page or the parking services web page.

Chris ZangBulletin Board, Education, People, University LifeOctober 28, 20160 comments
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Use Your Head, Not Your Headphones

With the weather getting warmer, more and more people can be seen walking or jogging or biking outdoors. Unfortunately, many who enjoy exercising in the great outdoors aren’t listening to birds chirping or the wind rustling.

They are listening to their headphones.

And that can be dangerous. Runner’s World points out you have a much better chance of hearing that car barreling down on you or that dog chasing after you when you leave the headphones at home.

Running against traffic and wearing bright colors also help.

Leave Your Headphones at Home

In urban areas, headphone use is even more of a risk. One study found that injuries among pedestrians wearing headphones tripled between 2004 and 2011, with most accidents occurring in urban areas.

The warnings make sense. Stepping off the curb in the city is dangerous enough. When you add something that both distracts you and blunts one of your senses, it’s obviously going to increase that danger significantly.

So, yes, get out and exercise. But leave the headphones at home, or limit them to the treadmill at the gym. Can’t part with your beloved buds? Then, at least lower the volume so you can hear what’s going on around you out of doors. Or compromise and use only one earbud.

Tips For Safely Exercising Outside

Pay attention. It is easy to get into the “zone” while exercising, but make sure you stay aware of where you are, who is around you, and where you are going. Distracted people can become targets of criminals.

Make yourself visible. Always make eye contact with drivers when crossing the street, even if you’re in the crosswalk and have the right of way. If you know you’re going to be exercising at night, invest in reflective gear.

Sarah RebackEducation, University LifeJune 3, 20160 comments
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President's Message

April President’s Message

The April issue of The President’s Message is available. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on UMB’s diversity personnel analysis, a look back at the mayor’s Women’s History Month speech and Dr. Perman’s quarterly Q&A, former Chancellor Brit Kirwan’s core values speech on knowledge, the CURE Corner, an update on the UMB police escort service, and the well-attended forum on the Strategic Partnership Act.

Chris ZangClinical Care, Community Service, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University LifeApril 12, 20160 comments
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