Forewarned is forearmed. That’s what police officer Ronald Jonkman must have thought. At the beginning of the new academic year, the Kralingen-Oost community police officer created a video message in which he provides students with tips and tricks to help them get through another year without encountering problems with the police and/or thieves.
He knows exactly what awaits the new freshers: “You’ll be partying, you’ll be going out.” But being a good police officer, he obviously knows students’ priorities, too: “Obviously, the main thing is your studies.”
“Always keep your phone with you”
The video shows him walking across the EUR campus while providing viewers with tips on how to avoid problems. He sees a female student whose phone is lying behind her while she is enjoying the final mouthfuls of her salad. It would be only too easy for a person with bad intentions to grab the phone. “Always keep your phone with you,” Jonkman says warningly in the voice-over. “And within eyesight.”
A few yards down the track, a male student receives a phone call, after which he walks away, leaving his possessions unattended. “Temporarily distracted? Always keep an eye on your belongings!” says Jonkman in response to this situation, after which he quickly returns the bag that was up for grabs to the young man.
Near the bike rack, Jonkman addresses another issue common among students: a lack of money, combined with a need for bikes. Viewers who might consider buying a cheap bike from a dodgy stranger they have just met in the street are reminded: “Buying stolen property is an offence!”
“Is this for real?”
When Editie NL shows an item about the video message, several students snigger. They think the video is a bit dull and all too obvious. One of the students even wonders if it is “for real”. But at the same time, the students also approve of the community police officer’s attention for such matters.
Despite some criticism, Jonkman continues to be proud of his initiative, although he does admit that his presentation leaves room for improvement. “But even so, this allowed us to reach some three thousand new students, including international students,” he told Editie NL. He was considerate of international students, too: his tips are subtitled. He even claims students will sometimes recognise him from the video. “I’ve seen several students look at me in a way that said, ‘Hey, that’s him!’”