Safety first

With the Topeka Police investigating what is thought to be the ninth and tenth homicides of the year for the city of Topeka, students may want to look away from their textbook for a moment and remember ways of safety.

While the Washburn University Police Department may be around to protect students on a 24-hour basis, students must deal with violence that exists around them, especially on college campuses and the cities they inhabit.

Campus safety now becomes a topic that students must grow weary of. Marie Clark, junior, and Jason Lee, freshman, both agreed that Topeka is a safe city and Washburn is a safe college campus, but there are still techniques Lee gave for protective measures.

“Having a friend around and staying in contact with the Washburn Police are sure ways to stay safe on campus,” said Lee.

Clark says simple things such as carrying your cell phone or a whistle in case there’s a problem can keep you safe. Walking with a buddy, knowing where your campus police are, and staying in lighted areas are a few other ways Clark suggested.

Capt. Ed White, Washburn University Police Department, also provided a variety of ways to stay safe on campus.

“Keep your [dorm] doors locked when you’re not there,” said White. “Dorm security plays a huge factor in keeping the campus safe.”

White went on to say that both students and parents wouldn’t appreciate their belongings being stolen, so locking doors is important.

Washburn’s annual crime statistics show that in 2009, there were 13 burglaries on campus as well as four sexual offenses, which shows that students should be cautious.

Topeka’s presumed ninth homicide was also reported shortly after 4 a.m. on Saturday Sept. 4 according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. It took place at Southwest 21st St. and Wanamaker Road, one of Topeka’s busiest intersections.

White also suggests keeping track of personal items when in public areas.

“As beautiful, quiet and relaxing as our dining hall here on campus is, don’t think for a second that someone won’t hesitate to snatch your book bag that contains your laptop in it,” said White. “Laptops are very expensive and hard to come by these days. So students keep your bags zipped and in your sight at all times. It would be a shame if someone used your bag to steal mozzarella sticks that they decide to not to pay for, right?”

With a recent situation that took place recently around Washburn’s campus, students with iAlert were informed of the situation.

The message described a car whose occupants alledgedly fired shots into the air, as well as descriptions of the car and suspects. It also made sure to inform that the area should be avoided.

A later message updated students on the situation, letting them know the situation had moved off campus. The iAlert program also alerts of inclement weather, safety concerns, or if the school is closed.

It may sound like a lot of work to keep safe on campus, but White’s final advice was short and simple.

“Just be cautious of everything you do.”