Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Debra Purdy Kong and Campus Crime


 Those Pesky Campus Crimes
By Debra Purdy Kong

Although I haven't experienced a murder on campus as Evan Dunstan does in Dead Man Floating, I was a security guard and, like Evan, encountered my share of crime on campus. Sometimes, I'd come across something while patrolling, but most of the time dispatch officers would send me to investigate a complaint. When I later worked in dispatch, I encountered many events through phone calls and in-person visits at the front desk. It also became clear that certain incidents were more common than others.

Mischief was at the top of the list. Let’s face it, some students truly believed that graffiti and stink bombs were funny. Others pulled a fire alarm or phoned in a bomb threat in a desperate bid to avoid an exam or express anger.

Laptop and electronics topped the theft list, and students weren't the only victims. Instructors and staff who left their office doors open even briefly had occasionally found their wallets, purses, or phones missing.

Misadventures with vehicles was also a common problem. Keyed cars didn’t happen nearly as often as busted windows and stolen property. Most of these incidents occurred during September and October when the lots were busiest. BC weather is often warm and sunny in the early fall, and too many students forgot to roll up windows or lock doors. As a bike patroller, Evan would spend a lot of time patrolling the lots and dealing with this type of incident.

Aside from the campus pub and the dorms, drinking on campus was a strict no-no, yet we had more than our share of this behaviour. Once I was sent to investigate a rowdy classroom full of students consuming beer and hard liquor as they celebrated the end of exams. I and colleagues had to record every name and ID number into our notebooks and then write them down again on a handwritten report.

Of course, conflict on campus occurred, and most issues centered around students who didn't get along. Sometimes, the was rivalry over a woman. Other times it was a bullying issue or alcohol-infused drama of one type or another. On rare occasions, a female instructor faced unwanted attention from male students.

Assault threats also occurred now and then, but I didn’t experience this directly, not like Evan will. In fact, his security career is going to be one heck of a ride.


EXCERPT FROM DEAD MAN FLOATING:
Propping the kickstand, Evan removed the small flashlight attached to his belt then stepped nearer the water. Oh shit! It was a hand! A freakin’ hand! And legs! He moved the flashlight up the body until he spotted the grey fringe circling a bald head that glowed like a moon. Evan shivered. Was the guy alive? He wouldn’t have to perform CPR, would he? That first-aid course last year didn’t go so well after he broke that manikin.

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Floating-Evan-Dunstan-Mystery-ebook/dp/B014K0UY1A








Author of six mysteries and over fifty short stories, Debra has won numerous awards for her work. She conducts workshops, is an administrative assistant at Simon Fraser University, and also works as a substitute facilitator for the creative writing program with Port Moody Parks & Recreation. More information about Debra’s books and her blog can be found at


Also visit Debra's FB Author Page


14 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for hosting me, Alison. It's a pleasure to be here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the great article Debra. To think I didn't know you were a woman in uniform.

      Delete
  2. I laughed when I read the part about Evan breaking the first-aid manikin. That has to be an epic fail for a resuscitation course!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least he had a manikin to break. The first course I took (in Girl Guides many years ago) we had to demonstrate our ability to give mouth to mouth on our fellow Guides. I had a cold at the time of the test and pointed out that it would be better if I didn't get that close to my partner. The tester argued that if a person couldn't breath, catching a cold would be the least of their problems.
      "But she can breath," I pointed out.
      And she could catch my cold.

      Delete
    2. Ah, yes, I remember that, Alison. The first time I took first aid was 25 years ago, and we had to test on real people. The second time, for security we got those manikins. Honestly, though, I didn't break mine :)

      Delete
  3. Debra, I teach at Sheridan College, and sure got a kick out of reading about your adventures in security! I think I know all the security guards by name at my campus (grin). And yes, I had that last adventure two years ago (a smitten student, middle-aged, who wouldn't leave me alone. He actually started coming to the school on nights he knew I taught, waiting outside my classroom, even when he wasn't taking a class.) Really appreciated our security people then, and always.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to know. Luckily, it didn't happen often, but the time I did get a call from an instructor, we were on it fast. It was a similar situation to yours. The student was showing up in her evening classes. She had plenty of protection. Since he was a student, she also knew his name, which meant we got his ID and our security managers had a chat with the guy. No problem after that.

      Delete
  4. Great that you have real life experience to spark ideas for you novels. Your history brings a lot of reality into your scenes and then the story flies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kristina. Yes, the situations were weird and funny and sufficiently traumatic at times that it seemed only natural to incorporate them into stories.

      Delete
  5. Alison, the mouth-to-mouth thing was what always put me off learning resuscitation. Now they've got the dummies, I'm more inclined to take the course. (Of course, we'd have to have a frank discussion about previous relationships first...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's worthwhile, Allan...even for the everyday stuff like how to deal with cuts and burns that can so easily happen at home.

      Delete
    2. I agree with Debra. I had to update my skills for the City. Everyone has to know how to save someone some day.

      You'll be happy to know that mouth to mouth is no long de rigueur in life saving circles. Chest compressions and AEDs (automated external defibrillator) are the way to go... or make sure someone doesn't go. (And btw, my most recent instructor totally agreed with my reasoning of many years ago.)

      Delete
  6. Its is a lovely article, very inspiring and creates ideas for a novel. professional laptop repair kandy

    ReplyDelete
  7. Its is a lovely article, very inspiring and creates ideas for a novel. professional laptop repair kandy

    ReplyDelete