Office Watch Program

Office Watch is a crime prevention program similar in philosophy to that of a neighborhood watch program. The goal of Office Watch is to reduce the opportunities to commit crime by enlisting a cooperative effort between the Boston University community and the Boston University Police Department. This mission will be accomplished by establishing a formal network of communication between University departments, their personnel, and the University police. We are asking everyone to take an active role in crime prevention by being the “eyes and ears” of the community. It is essential that everyone assert a vested interest in her or his own safety and security and that of those who share their building.

The following topics are addressed in the Office Watch program:

Crime Reporting: Recognizing suspicious activity. Effectively reporting it to the BUPD and alerting others through a phone tree.

Operation ID: Marking office equipment and personal items of value with traceable ID numbers to deter theft and aid in recovery. (Social Security numbers can be tracked through the National Crime Information Center or NCIC.)

Self-Protection: Following suggestions offered by the BUPD on how to keep yourself safe. Women can enroll in the RAD self-defense program offered by the BUPD.

Office Security: Making a diligent effort to keep office/lab areas secure. Request security surveys to be conducted by the BUPD. Know your visitors and keep track of them.

Emergency Planning: Discussing with emergency personnel contingency plans to be utilized in the event of a bomb threat, fire, or an incident calling for building evacuation. Involve Risk Management personnel in this planning.

Key Control: Recognizing the importance of strict key control in denying access to unauthorized persons. Do not duplicate or disseminate University keys.

Petty Cash Control: Recognizing the importance of keeping a minimal amount of petty cash on hand and keeping access limited. One person should manage petty cash. Do not keep it in an obvious and accessible location.

New Hire Orientation: BUPD gives a talk to new hires about the department and the programs it offers.

Each department that participates will receive Office Watch decals to be conspicuously displayed on office/lab doors. These decals indicate a heightened awareness of suspicious activity. Criminals will recognize this and seek an easier target. Once half of the departments within the building become involved, Office Watch signs will be posted near the doorways of that location.

A safer community benefits everyone concerned. This goal can be achieved by fostering a concerted effort among faculty, staff, students, and police. The Office Watch program serves as an instrument in organizing the community toward this goal. No police department can function effectively in addressing crime without the active participation of community members. The bottom line is that we must all work together to reduce the opportunities for crime at Boston University.

Who has participated in Office Watch:

  • Boston University Comptroller’s Office, 881 Commonwealth Avenue
  • Espresso Royale, 736 Commonwealth Avenue
  • College of Communication, 640 Commonwealth Avenue
  • School of Theology, 755 Commonwealth Avenue

In addition, the Office Watch program is working with the Office of Human Resources at Boston University. Sergeant Burke and Detective Ryan are part of the new hire orientation sessions and give a presentation on the role of the BUPD.

For more information on the Office Watch program or about becoming a part of the Office Watch program, contact Sergeant Jeff Burke at 617-353-2110 or between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. or Detective John J. Ryan, Monday–Friday at 617-353-3436 or jryan@bu.edubetween 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.