Campus staff shares safety tips

Lirona Joshi

Staff Writer

While the university’s annual Safety Report records few crimes, it is still important to know how to keep yourself safe on and off campus. Troy University is an open campus with approximately 8,000 students milling about. Naturally, there is a concern for student safety.

Detective James Taylor of the Troy University Police Department said that the key to an individual’s safekeeping is to be alert of his or her surroundings.

“Be aware of your surroundings on campus, and that will resolve a lot of issues—the thefts or the harassment problems and things of that nature,” Taylor said.

“Because we have an open campus, areas such as the library, the Trojan Center, the dining hall become public areas with a lot of traffic where people can very easily pick up book bags, wallets, phones just from a few seconds of someone not paying attention.”

Dormitory residents are advised to be mindful while entering and exiting their buildings. Staff strongly recommend that students do not allow unknown individuals to follow them into the residence halls when they have used their key fobs.

Sara Jo Burks, assistant director of housing and residence life, asserted the need for strict adherence to visitation policies, as they are the best way to ensure safety for the residents.

“Take caution while entering the buildings, and if you see someone in your building or around your building who need not be there, then call the university police, and let them come over and investigate,” Burks said.

“Also, most of the rooms have keyhole that you can look through. If someone knocks on the door and you don’t know who they are, don’t open the door. Talk to them through the door, and find out who they are and their purpose of being there.”

“Follow the dorm rules that are in place for your building. A lot of people think they are silly, but they are there for the residents’ safety,” said Cassidy Counter, a junior economics major from Madison and resident assistant at Hamil Hall. “If people don’t follow them, it makes it harder to keep everyone safe.”

Another major concern for students is the insecurity they feel when commuting within the campus area at odd hours. Even though the campus is patrolled by the University Police at all hours of the day throughout the week, people often feel vulnerable commuting from one building to another at odd hours.

“Don’t walk late at night by yourself, and if you get caught in a situation where you have to, call your roommate or somebody, and let them know that you are walking back.” Burks said. She also recommends staying on the phone with someone until you have reached your secure destination.

Jasmin Shelton, a junior rehabilitation major from Greensboro, advises students to travel in pairs while moving around at dark. “Stay away from the shady and potentially unsafe areas at night,” Shelton said. “Stick closer to the well-lit areas and roads.”

Not only does the university have various emergency booths scattered around campus where students can call for help; the campus police deploy at least three officers per shift in their 24/7 patrol.

“Sometimes, if an individual feels unsafe or is in a situation, I’d rather have you call the police department,” Taylor said. “There is no situation that is too small or not urgent that we won’t come out and investigate. We do urge students to call us when they are not sure.” He also advises students to call the police rather than investigating it themselves.

Taylor reports that there have been no major crises concerning assaults or sexual misbehaviors since the start of the academic calendar in fall 2016.

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