UCF PD Officer Joel Witherspoon discusses safety measures that tenants can take at The Marquee. Noelle Campbell, Central Florida Future


The UCF Police Department is trying to highlight issues of concern regarding safety among tenants in off-campus housing.

Officer Joel Witherspoon gave a talk to the members of The Marquee community on Tuesday to educate people about steps they can take to remain safe inside and outside of their apartment complexes.

"Our goal at UCF is always to see everybody safe," Witherspoon said.

He stressed the importance of tenants using common sense to decrease the likelihood of theft, such as locking front doors and bedroom doors.

Tenants should also register their valuable electronics online to prevent against thieves pawning stolen goods. By law, a pawn shop is obligated to check the serial numbers in a database, Witherspoon said.

He advises that females not walk alone in the middle of the night and should try to run errands in the daytime. Having a friend to run errands with is also recommended.

UCF PD offers a monthly $5 class for females who want to learn self-defense.

"We do five basic moves and it's also about awareness. Every woman can go, bring your girlfriends," Witherspoon said.

The Marquee has security guards available 24/7 to escort residents to their apartments. It is also available for anyone who does not feel safe walking around the property. Property manager Shawn Bender said there are two site security personnel on call during the day and four after 5 p.m.

Tenants should be wary about who they invite to their apartment and always give each of their roommates a heads-up before bringing in strangers.

"The worst thing you want is to have somebody to come home and they're not aware the individual is there. You want to make sure that each of your roommates feels comfortable with that happening before that happens," Bender said.

Even suspicious people walking around the complex should be under scrutiny as well.

"If you see someone suspicious, don't wait until you take a shower and do whatever you do, eat dinner. It's too late. Same thing on campus. If you're on campus and you see somebody in the garage that looks kind of strange, call [911]. We'll figure it out," Witherspoon said.

Above all, people should be aware of their surroundings and their vulnerabilities.

"You can't look like a victim. A victim has their headphones on, head down, cellphone on, not paying attention. Criminals don't like to fight," Witherspoon said. "The easiest target is the person that's not paying attention."

UCF PD will be hosting more talks at the Village at Science Drive on June 22, The Edge on June 23, and Plaza on University on June 25.


Noelle Campbell is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @Noellecampz or email her at

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