If you check your Otis email frequently (as we are constantly reminded to), you may have noticed a frequent amount of “CRIME ALERTS” or “Timely Warnings” that are taking place on or near campus. There have been car break-ins / theft and even harassment where people have been followed by strange and dangerous people.
This is a serious situation that should be addressed urgently. In the emails sent out by the school, we are told about the offense, the time it took place, location and the suspect description. This is all so very helpful for being vigilant to crime, but how are we supposed to handle the situation? On the crime alert emails, there is a “take action to keep our community safe." I feel that this information is good but very general.
Avoid walking alone after hours
Report suspicious people immediately
Be aware of your surroundings at all times
If you observe a crime in progress STAY CALM AND CALL 911
Be a good witness. If you see something, say something.
This is how we are supposed to react to these situations as told in the email. The links within these bullet points are more helpful to specific cases that can help you handle a situation that has happened to you, a friend or just someone you know around here. It is definitely worthwhile to check out these links and know your resources.
As a fellow student, I want to make sure my peers are safe and are knowledgeable for future incidents. I interviewed fellow Otis students about how they felt the school’s handling the situations that have occurred and how we should help solve unwanted crimes on campus.
The people I interviewed had very similar answers to my questions.
The first question I asked was “do you feel safe at this school?” The females I interviewed said “no” or that they felt scared. For they have to walk alone to their car late at night after being told about other female students being followed. The buddy system is a very good idea but sometimes it can be hard to find someone to walk with you in the parking garage because that person you asked has to walk back alone and sometimes it may be difficult to find someone that is available to go with you.
Not only is the parking garage vulnerable during the day with car break-ins, it’s even more so at night. It is a very dim lit place that needs a closer watch and a better solution for who is allowed to park or enter the garage.
But with all of these crime alerts, I have seen the security guards scanning the campus more often and everyone seems to be on their toes about it. Not being too comfortable in your environment might sensitize your senses to danger. But going to school in fear is not an ideal college experience. In the interview, my peers have suggested tighter security. And since then, I have seen more attention being brought to the parking garage and security patrolling the campus at night.
Ever since the theft related crime alerts have been brought to our attention, it has made a lot of students uneasy. The trust students once had with the Otis campus is slowly disappearing.
Prior to this, students would leave their things out in the open, which makes it an easy target for it to be stolen, but people are more conscious now. So, they take their personal belongings everywhere with them. Does this mean we always have to carry our things with us everywhere? I think so. No matter where you go, I feel that you should always take your stuff with you or leave it in a trusted environment. Let’s keep track of our things! It makes us more responsible for our own items.
Another issue is our main entrance. Having the kind of workload that we do at Otis, our campus is a 24-hour workspace and is basically open to the public. There are so many pros and cons to this situation. For example, if we were to change how students enter the campus by scanning their student ID’s, that might cause traffic or a hassle to remember or to have your ID in hand constantly while carrying large items.
But it isn’t a bad idea, especially when it is implemented at certain times. Hypothetically, the school could start scanning ID’s after 6 pm when it gets dark and the school isn’t as well populated.
Also, when our campus is finished being renovated in Fall 2016, there may be less of a problem.With the meal plans and more public spaces for "hanging out" there will be more students on campusand this in itself will prevent outside crime.
So overall, our school is being more conscientious of who is on campus and how to protect the students, faculty, and staff.
Remember to always be alert, use the buddy system, and don’t leave your precious items around.
And don’t forget, if someone looks suspicious; report them immediately to the security desk!
We are all a part of a community and should help one another to be safe. Be wise and aware of your surroundings. Stay safe!