by Melissa Brunner
If empty pizza boxes are any indication, then the "Protect Your Bod" event that our Leadership Greater Topeka project group staged Wednesday with the Washburn Student Government Association was a resounding success! At the end of two hours, 38 empty boxes stood as tall as us!
While free pizza and t-shirts certainly attracted students, we noted that most who took advantage did take the time to visit the safety organizations which had set up shop around the room. A woman from the Attorney General's Office had a crowd gathered around her, picking up information on identity theft; Washburn Police, Crime Stoppers and Topeka Police filled students in on the resources they use to keep people safe; and Safe Streets had an invisible marking pen, helping students mark their personal property.
A few dozen people were on hand to hear at least some of the speakers. Attorney General Derek Schmidt reminds us that personal safety starts with ourselves; Washburn Police Chief Dean Forster showed the camera and help phone locations scattered around campus; personal safety instructor Steve Twemlow taught us our best weapon is our voice; and this interesting tidbit from Topeka Police Chief Ron Miller - those backpacks kids are toting around with music players, laptops, calculators and wallets with credit cards have the potential to bring in $10,000 for a thief! You might think that's no big deal since you don't keep anything like that in the backpack or gym bag sitting in your vehicle right now, but a thief doesn't know that!
The event was geared toward college students, but it's information important for all of us. We must take steps to keep ourselves and our property safe. Criminals like the path of least resistance, so make it more difficult for them to make you a victim.