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Safety on campus: do I feel safe?

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By KeviMercado

Opinions Editor

[email protected]

March 31, 2015

College campuses are supposed to be the safest communities around, but when the University Police Department sends a text in the middle of the night about robberies at gunpoint, safety becomes questionable.

Any UPD officer will relay that they try their best to keep the university as safe as possible. And I do think that they try their best to ensure that the students attending the university are in the best capable hands. However, this is not to say that those random texts and emails are not frightening.

Recently, there had been a robbery on campus in the lot by the Social Science building near the bus stop, and one by the Physics building, according to UPD through their alert system. The former involved a pellet gun resembling a handgun.

Upon reading the emergency text alert, I immediately recognized where on campus this was and more importantly, that I, along with many students on campus, regularly go to.

I was never afraid to go to these parts of campus before, but of course when hearing something like a robbery occurring, it tends to freak people out. I find that it has become harder to be in these areas, especially at night. Some people may have to sacrifice late night studying or trips to the Campus Center to avoid heading to these locations for the irrational, yet plausible, fear that it could happen again.

I am sure that UPD would simply encourage student to not walk alone, which it has done in the past. I would have to agree with UPD that if the opportunity occurs that one does not have to walk alone, we should jump on the opportunity. It probably greatly decreases the chances of someone attempting to attack or rob someone else.

Upon careful consideration of the amount of safety precautions we have on campus, I still came to wonder why the university has an open policy.

With an open policy, anybody in the downtown Capital Region, or anywhere for that matter, can easily make it onto campus and walk freely without question. While I admire the university’s openness to the greater community, it does concern me that anybody could easily skate their way into the campus.

There are people in the world who are willing to come to campus with the intent to attack, but I realize that it is once again pretty irrational to think that people will come to a college campus just to wreak havoc.

This is not to say that the people who were charged with committing the robberies were citizens of the greater Albany community, as it was disclosed that these men were actually New York City residents who went to school at the university.

With that being said, a scary event like that could definitely happen again. I do give credit to UPD for being able to identify and arrest the men responsible for the robberies. It had been in the middle of the night and therefore shows that UPD really does not take breaks when it comes to keeping the university residents safe.

However, I still feel the need to turn around every other second to make sure that no one is following me.

I know that it is probably in my best interest to be informed that events like these are actually happening and that they are being taken care of, but it still evokes a sense of fear in me. To think that even on a college campus, where it is supposed to be one of the safest places a person could go, fearful events can still occur.

UPD does provide trainings and services like the “Don’t Walk Alone” service to students like me who are still fearful about being on campus, especially at night. Deputy Chief Aran Mull once said at an open shooter training that school campuses are some of the safest places to be, but it still helps to be informed and prepared for the worst.

While it helps to be informed, it really does not help the anxiety that comes with being informed.

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