Our View: Safety is in numbers

DKS Editors

As students, sometimes we forget about our own safety. A lot of us walk alone, even at night, because we consider the city and the university a safe place.

Most of the time, we’re right. However, recent events should make safety our top priority.

Kent State, which generally ranks among the safest campuses nationwide, according to the Consortium for Higher Education Campus Crime Research, was hit by a string of robberies earlier this fall, and Yale graduate student Annie Le was found dead in a research building after going missing last week.

Those events should send a message to all of us: Crime can happen anywhere, and it’s important to stay vigilant to prevent it.

The Kent State University Police have rounded up two of the three robbery suspects in the past two weeks and ramped up patrols in the areas of the robberies. But we should still be mindful and take precautions, especially at night.

Kent State has a number of safety options available for students. The campus escort service takes students anywhere on campus between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. – students just need to take advantage of its availability. Students also can use one of the numerous security phones set up on campus or the ThreatLine the university set up this fall.

More than that, there’s plenty we can do to keep ourselves safe on campus and in the city.

We all learned about the buddy system at a young age, but it’s probably the most important thing we can do to keep ourselves safe.

The concept is simple: Don’t walk alone at night. Robbers tend to target people who walk alone so don’t put yourself in that vulnerable position. Find someone who’s going the same way as you and pair up for your walk back to your residence hall or apartment. The expression “safety in numbers” is actually true. Follow it.

Of course, that’s not the only way you can keep yourself safe at night. Don’t carry around more money than necessary, as doing so makes you more of a target. And it’s never a bad idea to keep some pepper spray handy.

But the most important thing you can do is to take responsibility for your own safety. You can do that by just being aware of your surroundings. Instead of listening to your iPod at maximum volume, stay alert, and watch out for anything suspicious.

Campus crime happens at Kent State, as the recent robberies have shown. But by raising your awareness at night, you can keep yourself from becoming another victim.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.