This year's Orientation Week program for entering first-year students will include an unprecedented number of meetings with campus police and security officials.
Officials maintain that the new programs do not come in response to any specific incidents or even a general increase in crime. Rather, police officials say they are trying to take "a more pro-active approach" to teaching incoming students about safety.
During each of the first four days of Orientation Week, Harvard police will provide bike locks, pass out information on safety and answer general questions for four hours each day at the Freshman Union.
"In the past we've given the freshmen a few weeks to get settled," said Harvard's crime prevention officer, Sgt. Lawrence J. Fennelly. "Now we're going to be all over them from the moment they get here."
In addition to tabling at the Union, there will be two special one-hour sessions entitled, "Security Programming: Safety in the Yard and Dorms," for all students Monday night.
The Program will include a 20-minute video presentation, a brief oral presentation by Harvard officers and a question and answer session. At the end of the first hour, the program will be repeated.
"We're trying to be more proactive," Fennelly said. "Yes, we're trying something new. And afterwards, we will evaluate it."
Fennelly said all the officers participating in the new security programs--even Police Chief Paul E. Johnson--will be offering their time on a volunteer basis. Accordingly, the new initiatives will cost the University nothing, Fennelly said.
Fennelly said the new programs were inspired partly by an Undergraduate Council resolution passed last spring that urged the Harvard police to do more to insure student safety.
"We saw some problems in Weld and Canaday last year--mostly problems resulting from situations in which students left rooms unlocked," Fennelly said. "So we're trying something we've never done before."
But Fennelly also said that security discussions will include mention of some of the more high-profile crimes which have occurred recently on campus.
Indeed, Cambridge was named the "bike-theft capital of the country" in 1994. The Square was hit with a rash of robberies earlier in the spring. And in March, a high-tension noontime shootout in the heart of the Square brought national attention to Cambridge.
"We will discuss things like safe walking routes and security in the Square a result of all the things that [have] taken place," he said.