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Silent Watch helps stop crime

Anna Gelhaus | Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Suspicious activity on campus can be reported anonymously through Silent Watch, an online tip program located on the Notre Dame Security Police website.

Phil Johnson, NDSP assistant director, calls it the “electronic version of the tip-line.” Phone tip-lines have been in use for a long time, Johnson said.

“With students, it makes more sense to have it online,” he said.

The form asks for information about the incident such as the location, time, details of the event and descriptions of individuals involved. All the information is kept completely confidential.

Johnson said NDSP hopes that students will report any suspicious activity they witness, even if they were not personally involved with the incident.

“Maybe a student saw someone take a piece of furniture from one of the buildings on campus and relocate it somewhere else. We want to get that back,” Johnson said.

Information on assault, fraud, drugs, harassment, theft, vandalism and any other criminal actions can be reported on the website, at www.nd.edu/~ndspd.

“We want to welcome any information to help make our community safe,” Johnson said.

However, Johnson said students do not often use Silent Watch, although NDSP still attempts to evaluate each report.

“If we can follow up on it, we will do an investigation,” Johnson said. Officers also may be able to pair the tip with information they already have to further an investigation, he said.

Many campuses across the country offer similar online tip sites, Johnson said.