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Housing encourages residents to lock doors while sleeping

May 6, 2009

During the early morning hours today (May 6), a resident of Witte Hall let a male nonresident into the building. Soon after, a different student allowed the same individual to enter a stairwell.

Lock your door poster

Download a PDF version of this safety poster

The person proceeded to enter eight unlocked rooms of female residents while they were sleeping. A quick response from the University Police Department (UWPD) resulted in the arrest of the person, who is a Madison community member with no connection to campus. He has been charged with eight counts of disorderly conduct and five counts of criminal trespass, and other charges are pending.

University Housing director Paul Evans notes that these incidents could have been prevented if Witte residents had followed the safety precautions established for UW–Madison residence hall communities.

“University Housing works extremely hard to create a culture of safety for our residents,” he says. “But please remember that safety is a shared partnership between residents, hall staff, our police and our university. Everyone must play their part.”

Housing safety guidelines include:

  • Never prop open a building door or allow access to a stranger.
  • Residents are urged to keep their doors locked, especially when sleeping.
  • Do not open the door to someone who does not carry proper identification.
  • Students who live on the first floor of their building may also wish to take the precaution of closing their window when they are sleeping.
  • Be wary of people who don’t appear to belong in the area.
  • If you feel uncomfortable confronting a person who is following you into a residence hall, alert your hall staff, house fellow or UWPD.
  • Always carry your key when you leave your room.
  • Do not open the door to someone who does not carry proper identification. University Housing custodial and maintenance staff members all wear identification tags with their photos and names.
  • Report any crime or suspicion of a crime at once. If UWPD is contacted within the first five minutes, police have a better chance of finding a suspect.

If you have information about the Witte incident, you are encouraged to call UWPD at 264-COPS.