Getting your children to school safely is only half the battle. How do you know they’ll be safe on campus?
Police offer a few recommendations for parents who want to know what kinds of crimes may be occurring at their children’s schools, but are concerned school administrators won’t tell them everything.
“The local police departments are going to be (the) best bet,” said Scottsdale police spokesman Sgt. Mark Clark.
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Clark said Arizona public records laws are helpful for digging up the history of crime at a school.
“Generally, if you want to know why the police were at a school on a given day, you can find it out from the police department,” Clark said.
To learn how much crime occurred at a campus during a given time period, just walk into the records section of a local police department and request “all calls for service” at the address of the school. Remember to go to a police department that’s in the same city as the school.
Once the records are pulled, the parent will receive documents outlining the dates and reasons why police were called to the school.
Parents can also request police reports for any specific incidents that occur at their child’s school.
Kevin Quinn, school resource officer for Chandler’s Hamilton High School, recommends parents get involved in the school or schedule a meeting with its school resource officer. The officers know the crime trends on campus better than anyone.
“I’ve talked to plenty of parents at the school before they’ve even enrolled their kid,” Quinn said. “If people move here from out of state, they may not realize they have a school resource officer on campus.”
Quinn said he often becomes a “personal police officer” for many parents and kids, who have grown to know him during his years at the school.
“I get parents calling me about issues their kids are having outside of the school because the parents are comfortable talking with me,” Quinn said.
And keeping open lines of communication with students is important for both parents and school officials.
Quinn said he recommends parents sit down with their children and encourage them to report any illegal activities they see on campus to school officials or police.
School safety tips
• Know your surroundings
• Parents should walk with kids to find a safe route to school
• Meet neighbors along the way
• If no parent can go, arrange for your child to walk in a group
• Teach your child to trust his or her “gut” feeling
• Go online and search for crime statistics in the neighborhoods surrounding your child’s school
• Carry a cell phone or know where pay phones are located along the way
SOURCE: Mesa police
Phone numbers and Web sites:
• Mesa: (480) 644-2324 or www.cityofmesa.org/police
• Scottsdale: (480) 312-5000 or www.scottsdaleaz.gov/Topic.asp?catID=3
• Gilbert: (480) 503-6500 or www.ci.gilbert.az.us/police
• Tempe: (480) 350-8311 or www.tempe.gov/Police
• Chandler: (480) 782-4130 or www.chandlerpd.com
• Apache Junction: 480-982-8260 or www.ajcity.net/police/public_safety.htm