By JANIE HARRIS
Campus safety is increasingly important for the students of Piedmont College.
“I worry about people being complacent,” said Piedmont Police and Fire Chief Dick Martin.
He explained that because students feel they live in a safe area, they do not take the necessary precautions to avoid an incident. Martin urged that even though the campus has not had a major incident, something could always change. Piedmont is not exempt from an unpleasant event.
Resident Assistant Brandon Callahan has taught self defense classes before and stresses safety on campus
“The best thing I could prescribe for all situations is situational awareness,” Callahan wrote in an email.
“Always be aware of where you are, what is going on, who is there, what they are doing … and do your best to never be caught off guard by something.”
Some general safety tips include always locking your doors and windows no matter how long you will be away from your room or car.
“We see it all the time when we are writing parking tickets. We will see a laptop in somebody’s backseat, and the car is wide open,” said Martin. This will not only protect your valuables; it also protects you from someone who might be in the building.
Avoid walking alone on campus, especially at night. Even if it is just to take the trash out, ask a friend or Campus Security to come with you.
There is strength in numbers. Having someone with you discourages a criminal from attacking you.
Tell people where you are going and when you expect to arrive. This way if something happens to you on your way there, someone can act on it before it is too late.
If something or someone looks out of place, contact Campus Police immediately.Do not wait for someone else to do it. Even if it is just a gut feeling, act on it. You could save a life.
Never prop open doors or leave windows open. This gives criminals an opportunity to get into a building that they did not have before.
Have your keys out and ready when you walk to your car. Fumbling for your car keys gives an attacker the perfect opportunity for an assault.
Know how to identify your valuables by serial numbers and physical characteristics that set them apart. If one of them is stolen, it is a lot harder to find if the police do not know what to look for. Martin explained that they often recover lost or stolen items that the students could not identify in order to get back.
Know Campus Security, your Resident Assistant, and your Resident Director’s numbers. These people are here to keep you safe. If something involving your safety is bothering you, talk to them about it.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Knowing what is going on around you could prevent you from getting yourself in a bad situation.
Finally, take a self defense class. Having the skills to defend yourself may save you if you ever need to get out of a dangerous situation. Callahan has been trying to organize a self defense class for students on campus. For more information, contact him at [email protected]