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Cody Crouse – Adam Goldberg Sharon Moraes – Jacob Heumann Kevin Cox- Daham Kim Thomas Herakovich – Rhet 105 Friday, November 19, 2010 Final Paper- Rough Draft Staying Safe On Campus: Safety at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign The fall of 2010 academic semester at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign saw an increase in crime-related incidents by five reports when compared to the fall of 2009. Without a safe campus, a university simply cannot be a successful institution. The University’s goals should be of the absolute highest priority for every college and university to maintain a campus where its students do not need to be afraid of the streets they walk. Unfortunately, we do not live in a society where crime is a non-issue. Because of this crime, there are certain actions, both preventative and active, that are in existence to help ensure a safe environment for students. Here at the UIUC, there are a number of these measures that are in place to assist in keeping the campus and its students safe. The university administration, along with outside help, has helped to bring about programs such as SafeRides and SafeWalks, crime-alert/emergency emails, as well as having erected multiple emergency call boxes. Through surveying a representative sample of the student body in Champaign-Urbana, we are able to assess the effectiveness of those safety devices as well as how safe students feel on campus. By assessing those same surveys, we were able to find out what students are doing to stay safe. In addition, the issue regarding the university and its students can further improve safety will be brought to the surface as students bring to light the problems that they are facing on campus. Finally, we will be addressing the question of, “how race and ethnicity play a role in campus safety and the crime that occurs.” The safety of an individual is one of the top priority for students, staff, and parents, and without it, a university would have a hard time delivering proper education and services to each individual. The University of Illinois makes it clear to students that their safety is a priority. Incoming freshmen, before even moving on to campus, receive emails informing them of mandatory safety seminars they need to attend. The two mandatory safety seminars for freshmen include one on alcohol and drug awareness safety, and one on assault prevention. In this way students are forced to open their eyes to the real possibility of dangers found in a community that is new to them. Incoming students are given opportunities to become equipped with tips and information on how to prevent dangerous situations from happening, and how to seek help when such a situation may occur. In addition to the two mandatory sessions there are a variety of other programs available to those who so choose, most being free of charge. The safety programs and presentations the university offers range from general, for those who just wish to be informed, to specific circumstances such as dog safety and child abduction. The only program that requires a fee is Rape Aggression Defense, and the small $15 fee covers the workbook for the class as well as the cost of the hands on physical defense lessons. These programs are all easy to learn about on the University Of Illinois website for current students. There are also links to crime reports, and police blotters so those who wish can stay aware of what is going on in the area. UIUC makes sure even those who don’t go out of their way to stay informed on safety are aware or risks on campus, by sending out mass “crime alert” emails to students whenever a crime occurs. Our surveys of students on campus show that 81% of students actually take the time to read those emails, as shown in “Figure 1”. This shows that these emails are a fairly effective method the school uses to inform its students. When asked if UIUC does a good job at keeping students informed, 92 of the 101 students surveyed credits UIUC for doing a good job at keeping them informed. Another aspect in which students felt UIUC excelled in is in their program “SafeRides” that offers transportation to students who are unable, or feel it unsafe, to walk home at night. Rules restricting SafeRides, such as one must be two blocks away from a bus stop, leads to some students being turned down when they call the number and ask for a ride. But inspite of these restrictions, 15% of students in our survey say they have used “SafeRides” and successfully gotten home unharmed. “SafeRides” is run by the school, not the police department, so students can feel comfortable calling this service without fearing a ticket for underage drinking or public drunkenness. However, about 50% of students surveyed, who have used SafeRides, had some negative feedback about SafeRides. Some of the negative comments were, “I had to wait about thirty minutes for SafeRides to pick me up”, “I had to wait in an unsafe location”, and “I had to walk a long distance to get where they would pick me up. Because Safe Rides has a rule of picking up students who are in a group of less than 3 people, some students do not even get picked up after having to wait. “SafeWalks” is a similar program to “SafeRides”, it offers a police escort to students who are not comfortable walking by themselves at night. However, it is run by the police department, so the immunity from being ticketed under the influence of drugs or alcohol does not apply. This lack of immunity for alcohol related crimes may be the reason only 2% of students we surveyed have used “SafeWalks”. Officials such as Skip Frost, lieutenant for University Police, admit that “Alcohol is a huge factor in crimes, and this may be why the alcohol awareness program is mandatory for all students in their first year” (Adderly). Drug use also plays a part in crimes on campus, this year “referrals to campus discipline for drug abuse violations rose from 75 to 91, and arrests for drug abuse violations rose from 103 to 171” (Location Champaign, Drug). It is because of drug and alcohol’s influence in crime that UIUC officials are determined to spread awareness and crack down on violators. UIUC has also responded to the increase in crime this semester by holding a town hall meeting on November 13 regarding safety. Safety is an issue that people don’t like to think about until they need to, and in response to a higher than normal crime rate UIUC has taken measures to ensure safety. Lockdown of outer doors in residence halls to prevent those without university identification cards from entering, as well as increase police force in areas assault often occur will hopefully minimize dangers. Even though the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is doing things to improve campus safety, students should try to improve as well. Students that attend UIUC do take part in preventing safety, but need to do more themselves to prevent crime. Some of the things that students are doing to prevent crime are raising awareness and getting informed. There are, however, things that students should improve on including: using campus safety utilities more often, and walking home in a safer way. Students are doing a good job with crime on campus in two ways: raising awareness and getting informed. Raising awareness is a great way to prevent crime on campus and students are doing just that. The student-run newspaper here at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is called the Daily Illini, also known as the D.I. The D.I. has written many articles about things students can do to stay safe. One particular article in the October 25, 2010 issue highlighted “SafeWalks” to inform the student population of their services. Not only does the D.I. put articles of safety in their print version of newspaper, but also their online version. On November 15, 2010 the headline article on the homepage on the website was about campus safety and what is being done around campus. Raising awareness means nothing if the students are not soaking in the information and becoming informed. In a recent survey we polled 101 students, and out of those 101 students, 83 read the Crime-Alert emails. Crime-Alert emails are emails that come from the Chief of Police Barbara R. O’Connor alerting students of crimes on or around campus. The graph above shows the statistics of the students we polled. A University can spend loads of money on safety and tell as many people as they want about their services, but it is up to the student to take the initiative and act. The students here at the University of Illinois can improve in two ways to prevent safety on campus. First of all, students can use campus safety utilities more often. Out of 101 students polled only 2 students used SafeWalks. These students are informed, as explained in the previous paragraphs, but still chose not to use this safety resource. Out of these 101 students, only 1 student has used an Emergency Call Box. Students can improve preventing safety by using these Emergency Call Boxes more often, and by calling SafeWalks more often. Another service offered up by the University of Illinois is called SafeRides. Only 15% of the people polled have used SafeRides. This number needs to increase to reduce campus safety. The statistics are shown in figure 2. A second way to improve campus safety is when students choose not to use campus safety outlet. If a student is walking home at night, he or she needs to walk with someone. A little less than half of the people polled say that they walk home 40% of the time or more. At the University of Illinois, students need to realize that they need to walk home with someone at least 80% of the time. If a student does find themselves walking home alone at night, he or she should stay alert and do not be distracted by a phone call or music playing. Even though crimes will happen on campus no matter what students or the University of Illinois does, crime rates can be lowered by just doing a few simple things. Another way to look at crime is by looking at the races and/or ethnicities that are involved in crimes on campus. With over 40,000 students enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, and a student body which consists of nearly every race and ethnicity from every state in the country as well as multiple countries abroad, there comes an interesting analysis of how that translates to life on campus regarding crime and safety. Since August 24, 2010, there have been eleven crime-alerts sent out to students and staff of UIUC. As each student reads the crime-alerts, an opinion regarding campus crime and safety is formed subconsciously. Our group has thoroughly and carefully surveyed a completely random sample of the student body of this university as possible in order to compile the data and opinions necessary to report on how race and ethnicity impact the crime and safety of this campus. The racial and ethnic focus of our survey was dealt with by asking the following questions: - Whom do you think is the most victimized on campus? - What race or gender do you associate most with crimes on campus so far this school year? For the question regarding those who are victimized, specifically regarding the male victims, 67% of those surveyed felt that Caucasian males were most commonly the victims in crimes. For the same question, but regarding females being the victims, 86% felt that Caucasian females are most often the victims of crimes on campus. As for the second question of whom is typically felt to be the suspected criminal in a campus incident, of the male criminals section, 85% responded that African-American/Black men were most associated regarding who they associate with assaults on students. For expected female criminals, the highest percent of responses were for African-American/Black at 32%. Over the last three months there have been eleven crime alerts; eight of these have described the attacker or attackers to be black males or females, while the remaining three where described to be white males or females (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). These results almost perfectly parallel that which the crime alerts show for who is accountable for offenses. These responses do not come as any real surprise. If one looks at this year’s Crime Alert emails, these survey statistics are generally consistent with the race and gender of suspected offenders. Also, the crimes that have been committed this year on campus have been mostly directed towards white females. White males have been targeted as well. So, what does this all mean? First, our survey reveals that the student body is making relatively accurate assumptions regarding who have been the suspected criminals, and who have been the victims in regards to crimes occurring on campus. This is where this topic can start to get controversial. It is up to each individual student to make the decision of whether or not to racially discriminate when in a potentially dangerous situation, such as walking at night. We do not feel our sampling is large enough to make a specific recommendation, we would rather students read the Crime Alerts and familiarize themselves with UIUC’s safety suggestions. We wish that we all lived in a world where race, ethnicity, and gender did not play a role in how we treat each other; however, it seems somewhat clear that knowing who is around you can assist in keeping you safe. In conclusion, the students at the University of Illinois and the university itself are in a time where safety is at up most concern. These are no longer the days where students can walk home late at night without the thought of campus safety. Works Cited: Adderly, Shawn. "University Police Inform Students and Celebrate Public Safety Day on Quad | The Daily Illini." The Daily Illini | The Independent Student Newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871. University Of Illinois, 02 Sept. 2010. Web. 01 Oct. 2010. <http://www.dailyillini.com/news/campus/2010/09/02/university-police- inform-students-and-celebrate-public-safety-day-on-quad>. "Campus Safety | University Police | Illinois." Main | Public Safety | Illinois. Web. 01 Oct. 2010. <http://www.dps.uiuc.edu/universitypolice/campussafety.html>. Khan, Nishat. "Police Evaluate Complaints, Increase Safety Measures | The Daily Illini." Daily Illini (Sept. 2010). The Daily Illini | The Independent Student Newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871. University Of Illinois, 14 Sept. 2010. Web. 01 Oct. 2010. <http://www.dailyillini.com/news/champaign-urbana/2010/09/14/police- evaluate-complaints-increase-safety-measures>. "Drug-, Alcohol-related Crimes up on Campus | News-Gazette.com." News-Gazette.com: Advertising/East Central Illinois. Web. 01 Oct. 2010. <http://www.news- gazette.com/news/courts-police-and-fire/2010-09-29/drug-alcohol-related- crimes-campus.html>. Schenk, Mary. "Unprovoked Attacks in Champaign May Be Linked." News-Gazette.com: Your Source for News and Advertising in East Central Illinois. Web. 01 Oct. 2010. <http://www.news-gazette.com/news/courts-police-and-fire/2010-09-09/i- thought-they-would-just-keep-walking-victim-says.html>. UIUC Student Enrollment. 2010. 14 January 2010 <http://www.dmi.illinois.edu/stuenr/>. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Massmail Archive. 14 November 2010 <https://broadcast.illinois.edu/massmail/mm.cgi?app=archive>.
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