Friday, November 2, 2007
Don't Be a Victim: School Safety
College students today have more things to worry about than just getting good grades. Safety on campus is a top priority for students and their families. Here are tips on staying safe in tonight's Don't be a Victim.
WSVN -- Images and sounds that we will not soon forget. The day that innocence was stolen from college campuses across the nation and the world.
Leah Pasteliti: "It is always in the back of my mind that something could happen. I mean, there has been a time that I sit in the classroom and I say, 'OK' I want to know where the door is and where my professor is.'"
She admits she worries about her safety on a daily basis.
Officer Frank Jackson of Coral Gables Police: "There were some students that were from out of town, went to Coconut Grove, decided not to take a cab, decided to walk home and were robbed at gunpoint."
Officer Frank Jackson has seen the dangers facing college students firsthand. He knows they are vulnerable both on and off campus. His first advice to avoid becoming a victim: be familiar with your surroundings.
Officer Frank Jackson: "We want you to walk around your campus during the daytime, and, at night, know where your emergency phones are."
In the event of an emergency you'll know exactly where to call for help. Next tip, if you do go out, make sure someone knows where you're going.
Officer Frank Jackson: "In the event something were to happen, we as a police department can go to that individual, and they will at least know where your last location was, and that is critical in helping us try to assist you."
Thirdly, you should carry personal safety gear.
Officer Frank Jackson: "When it comes to personal devices, such as mace, some type of weapon or alarm, or stick that you might carry with you understand that you better know how to use it."
And Officer Jackson says you should have it ready. Don't stick them in the bottom of your book back, so you have to search for it when you need it. And, finally, check to see if your school has a safety program.
Officer Frank Jackson: "A lot of campuses now are interactive. They have web pages, they have the ability to text message you or call you on your cell."
The University of Miami now can text student alerts.
David Rivero, UM Police Chief: "The text messages and the e-mails were received instantly, as a matter of fact, after we pushed the button, just as I was walking outside our communication center. I got mine."
Tom Haynes: "The hope is that another tragedy such as that of Virginia Tech never strikes another campus, but knowing how to protect yourself and being prepared is what ultimately makes all the difference."