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Robberies drive Student Safety calls up

With the recent string of robberies in the campus area, many students are concerned about their safety on and off campus after dark.

One option presented to students by several different faculty is the use of the Student Safety Service.

Captain David Rose of Ohio State Police said the Student Safety Service is not meant to be a student’s last resort for a safe way home.

Rose, a director of the Student Safety Service, advises students to plan ahead if they know they are going to need a way to get home.

“The original role of Student Safety Services was to be the last resort of transportation,” Rose said. “It is important for students to be aware of all of their options, including other forms of public transportation, like buses.”

Amanda Appis, a fourth-year in human development and family science, said she used the Student Safety Service system last year, but hasn’t this year because it takes too long to get a ride.

“I’ll call them and they will tell me that I should have called three hours ago if I wanted a ride. It’s just not convenient,” Appis said.

Appis said she doesn’t walk home alone, but instead walks with someone else, like her roommate.

“Students should plan ahead so they don’t find themselves in a situation where they are counting on Student Safety at the last minute,” Rose said.

Rose also said students should travel in large groups.

When an individual calls in to the dispatcher, the person on the other side of the line will ask for the person’s credentials, including their first and last name, their dot number, the location of the pick-up, the drop-off destination, the number of people who will be riding and the time of the pick-up.

There are six operating vehicles under the Student Safety Service and 25-30 students employed.

“The Student Safety Service is a service operated by students for students,” Rose said.

Courtney Thompson, a third-year in social work, and Christina Castillo, a third-year in criminology, are both Student Safety escort drivers and employees.

Thompson said most pick-ups are generally the same.

“Typically we pick students up, have a conversation with them, depending on the person, drop them off and make sure they get into their apartment or house safely, then go on to the next appointment,” Thompson said.

The escort office is open to schedule rides at 7 p.m. Thompson said the majority of calls come in between 7p.m. and 10 p.m., but the most calls come right at 7 p.m.

“Our lines open at 7 p.m., people will call right on time to guarantee a ride for two in the morning,” Thompson said.

The amount of rides a Student Safety escort will give and at what time depends on the night.

“Most nights rides are constant. Sometimes the time of night depends on what library a person is at and when that library closes. A lot of people stay late and make calls for right when the library closes,” said Thompson.

Thompson said most of the pick-ups are at libraries, especially the Science and Engineering Library and William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library.

Castillo said that more women tend to call for rides than men.

“We definitely have more girls than boys. If we have time in-between rides and are doing impromptu pick-ups, we are looking for girls who are alone,” Castillo said.

Thompson told The Lantern that she has never felt unsafe out on the job.

“I always have a partner and we are in a van. And we have a radio if we need to contact police,” Thompson said.

Rose said Student Safety Service employees are never in any unsafe conditions when working.

“The vehicles are marked and the employees wear a uniform. There are always two people in a vehicle,” Rose said.

In light of the recent crime in the off-campus area, Student Safety has seen an increase in calls and ride requests.

“I have noticed more pick-up calls from guys since the increase in crime attacks and an increase in calls in general. It’s just people being precautious,” Castillo said.

Rose said that currently there are no statistics that prove there has been an increase in crime.

“Historically, when there is an increase of crime in the community, our ridership goes up,” Rose said.

Rose said that in 2010, the Student Safety Service provided more than 24,000 escorts to students.

Even with the recent increase in crimes, Castillo said she still sees people walking in the dark, despite the services offered by Student Safety.

“You’re still going to see people walking around by themselves, they think it won’t happen to them,” Castillo said.

Thompson said she wanted to get the word out about Student Safety’s availability.

“People need to use us,” Thompson said.

There are a few rules that the Student Safety Service has implemented, such as: no alcohol is allowed in the vehicle, there is a three-people maximum for groups, no extra stops are allowed to be made between the pick-up place and drop-off destination, and if a student misses two scheduled escorts, they will be denied escort privileges for the rest of the quarter.

Tim Hoerle, a second–year in business, said that he doesn’t use student safety because his classes are during the day and he doesn’t study late at the library.

“Maybe next quarter I will use them more because all of my classes are at night,” Hoerle said.

Hoerle also said that he was not taking any extra precautions despite the recent crime increase around campus.

Student Safety Service is available from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. during Autumn, Spring, and Summer Quarters and are available 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. during Winter Quarter.

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