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Safety program gives away alarms to Ohio State students

Brent Hankins / Lantern reporter

Danielle Zuercher doesn’t always feel safe off campus.
“I haven’t heard of anything happening on my street, but a few streets away, I’ve heard of break-ins, so it would be nice for that to never happen to me,” said the third-year in industrial and systems engineering.Crime reports in the off-campus area often leave students like Zuercher feeling uneasy about their safety.
One program operated by Neighborhood Services and Collaboration, a branch of the Office of Student Life, aims to give off-campus students a tool to guard themselves against crime by providing them with free window and door alarms.
“Students can basically come to our office with their BuckID in Room 3106 of the (Ohio) Union and they can get as many free alarms as they would like,” said Dilnavaz Cama, the department manager of Neighborhood Services and Collaboration.
The two-piece alarms attach to any door or window and go off when the pieces are separated if the door or window is opened. The alarms can be set to make two different alarm sounds or turned off via a small switch on the side.
“It’s just a very simple device that you can literally stick on a door or window,” Cama said.
The alarm should alert the inhabitants of a house or apartment to a break-in but will not automatically notify the police, Cama said.
“It’s not attached to the police department or an alarm company, but it does provide a really loud noise. If someone were downstairs and it triggered upstairs, they would hear it, or if you were sleeping, it would wake you up,” Cama said
While students can receive these alarms for free, they cost the university about $4 each, Cama said. Funding for the project comes from the Undergraduate Student Government, Neighborhood Services and Collaboration, local area landlords, and central university funding, Cama said. From 2011 to 2012, almost $34,000 was donated for the project, Cama said in an email.
Roughly 7,000 of these alarms were given out last academic year and about 3,300 were given out last semester, Cama said.
The free alarm program began in 2007 and more people are getting alarms every year, Cama said. However, Neighborhood Services and Collaboration has not kept exact records on the number of students receiving these alarms until recently.  
While Zuercher said she sometimes feels unsafe off campus, other students said they haven’t been overly concerned about their safety.
“It’s not really a concern (to me), but I have heard some people have problems with it,” said Chuck Vaughan, a fourth-year in accounting. “I haven’t been that worried about security or anything.”
Evan Sieradzki, a third-year in international studies and Russian, said his fraternity house has its own security system, but he said he thinks people without a security system should install the alarms.  
“They wouldn’t be taking full advantage of all the different opportunities that Ohio State has to make sure students are safe off campus if they don’t take advantage of the free window alarms,” Sieradzki said.  
While having the alarms installed is certainly a positive step, Cama said, students should not become complacent when it comes to safety.
“I think having a free window and door alarm on every window and door is great, but (students) still need to be smart about their safety,” Cama said.
The office is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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