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Programs help student safety

MELISSA HALTERMAN/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Sgt. Eugene Mejia leads other members and trainees of the UAPD bike patrol through exercises outside of the main library. The bike unit recently received a grant to allow them to expand their force to 18 officers to improve campus safety.
By Nathan Tafoya
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 10, 2003

A big campus at night can be a scary place, and, though there are students who feel safe, there are still those taking precautions.

Sitting at a table with three other friends, computer engineering freshman Carlin Kartchner said that, as a male, he never feels unsafe on campus.

"Not at all," he said about feeling threatened. "IČll be walking around in the dark. I really don't care."

Nick Anderson, biology freshman, said he felt the same way, but changed his mind when it comes to his female friends.

"I walk a lot of my friends back to their dorms," Anderson said. "I don't let them walk anywhere by themselves."

Another biology freshman, Steven Bahe, said he worries about his female friends getting raped or being confronted by someone on campus.

The UAPD crime report listed one attempted sexual assault and five sexual assaults reported last year. Aggravated assault totaled 13.

"I feel pretty safe," said Rebecca Henderson, a pre-nursing freshman who lives off of campus. "I don't come here at night. I'm only here during the day."

Undeclared sophomore Jamie Witt, who lives off campus, said she probably feels safe because she is usually only at the UA during the day.

"I don't come here at night, but when I do, I stay on the cell phone," Witt said. "If you didn't have a cell phone, where would you run, since many of the buildings are closed up at night?"

Blue Lights, emergency lights that dot the UA campus, provide direct access to UAPD. If a student is unable to talk to a dispatcher, the student can knock the receiver off and an officer will visit the location.

Kristin McMillen, a mechanical engineering sophomore, said she thinks the placement of the phones is inconvenient.

"I don't think if I was running from somebody that I would stop to call somebody," McMillen said.

Her friend, Tami Tulloch, an electrical engineering sophomore, said she would probably just use her cell phone so she could walk away from a suspicious person and still make a call.

Working with ASUA and the UA Parent's Association, UAPD has begun distributing combination whistles, lights and key chains.

Tulloch and McMillen said they received safety whistles as freshman when they moved into their dorms; however, neither of them carry mace, pepper spray or whistles as defense against possible assaults.

Witt said she walks with her car keys in her fist and between her fingers in case she has to punch or scratch an attacker.

"I was almost kidnapped when I was a freshman in high school, so I learned that," she said.

"At home I have a baseball bat," Henderson said. "My dad gave it to me, but I don't carry it with me."

In order to provide a free and safe commute between UA buildings and parking lots, Associated Students of the University of Arizona offers the SafeRide program.

McMillen said her friend made her call SafeRide when she decided to return to her own dorm at night by herself last year.

"I did it once," McMillen said. "It was scary. I didn't take it again."

Dance sophomore Megan Zinke closes at Starbucks and said she has coworkers or friends walk her to her car. She said she feels safe on campus, but that her level of security drops at night.

"If I'm going to be on campus at night, IČll be with someone," Zinke said.

The 2003 Campus Safety and Security Report can be accessed at

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