Campus safety is vital

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Campus safety is vital

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UW Oshkosh provides several services to students to help create a safe environment on and near campus.

These services include the Safewalk program, Winnebago Countywide Crime Stoppers, blue light emergency phones and Titan Alert.
During the day the campus is bustling with students, but at night there are less students, which can lead to a feeling of uneasiness.
UWO sophomore Micaila Gerrits said new concerns are brought up from social media posts.

“During the day there’s a lot of people around,” Gerrits said. “At night it’s a little different with a lot of the different things you hear going on with sex trafficking, especially as a girl.”

The University offers suggestions to students for staying safe such as never walking alone at night to their car or around campus.
When students can’t find someone to walk with at night, there is the option of using the Safewalk program.
Even if not every student may need to use Safewalk, they tend to be appreciative that it is available to them.

Fifth-year student Shannon Gaffney knew about the Safewalk program and said she was glad that it was available as an option when walking to her car after a night class.

“Sometimes I’d feel a little unsafe, but luckily I had a quick walk to my car just in the Sage parking lot,” Gaffney said. “I didn’t feel safe but I definitely feel like the opportunity to use the Safewalk would have been available, and I would have used it had I had a longer walking distance.”
In the unfortunate situation that a student would need to contact the Univerity or city police either for something they see or are involved in, Crime Stoppers is available.

Crime Stoppers is a nonprofit that allows people to submit anonymous tips to surrounding community organizations.
However, it seems that students may not know about this service or don’t wish to use it.

Fifth-year UWO student Elliott Verkuilen said that even though he wasn’t aware of it previously, he still would choose not to use it.
“If I had any issues I would just contact University Police,” Verkuilen said. “They have a phone number basically everywhere.”
The Oshkosh Police is helpful to students especially in highly dangerous situations.

Junior Colten Cashmore had to take action on Friday morning when he found out that his truck had been stolen Thursday night.
Cashmore, never having any problems like this happen before, was in shock.

“I thought it was crazy that it was happening to me because you always hear it happening to other people,” Cashmore said. “It was five steps away from our door that it happened, so that’s pretty crazy too.”

After working with Oshkosh Police Department to get his truck back, Cashmore said he learned something new that other students should keep in mind as well.
“The main thing we have to realize as students and being on campus is just be proactive in making sure that everything is locked and not taking anything for granted,” Cashmore said. “There’s always someone out there looking to take advantage of you, unfortunately.”

Instances like Cashmore’s truck getting stolen on campus doesn’t affect other students, but there are situations when they can.
In these situations, Titan Alert is used to make students aware of what is happening or what areas to avoid.

Although it is helpful in alerting students, some feel that there sometimes isn’t enough information given.

“I remember getting one saying, ‘Avoid this street. We’ll send out information as it comes through,’ and an hour later it says, ‘You can use this street again’ with, like, no updated information,” Verkuilen said. “So it’s kind of nice, but then they don’t give any follow-up to this situation that happens. So it’s like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know what happened.’”

Gerrits said the alerts are helpful when there are enough details about the situation to help students.
“When there’s nothing on them it’s kind of like, how’s that going to help us when we have no idea what to look out for to begin with?” Gerrits said.
However, Gaffney said the alerts still achieve the main goal of making students aware of the situation.

“Without it I don’t think a lot of students would hear about things,” Gaffney said. “Also, there would be rumors that would go around because students like to talk and things can get miscommunicated.”

The school and city provide the necessary resources for safety on campus, but it is up to the students to utilize those resources and think responsibly.