Parking lots need to be safer

Abbie Barth

Campus parking lots and sideways need better lighting.

As the editor of the newspaper, I spend a lot of late nights on campus. Even when I get to leave by 5:30 p.m., it usually is already dark outside.

What I dread most about these late nights is the walk to my car. Most days I get to campus in the morning. Of course, all the lots closest to the building are full. So, I have to park in a far corner off campus.

Like most women, I have fear of being approached by an intimidating figure while walking to my car. I’m tired of constantly scanning my surroundings, letting a friend know when I get to my car safely and clutching my pepper spray with a death grip. Unfortunately, no amount of complaining or recognizing that this situation is unfair will ever make the problem go away.

Instead, I do want to propose some solutions that would help women, or anyone walking on campus, to feel safe at night.

First off, parking lots and sidewalks must install additional lighting so that there aren’t as many dark zones on the walk to your car. There are many patches of darkness on sidewalks and in parking lots.

According to palamerican.com, a parking lot or garage should have bright illumination for driving and pedestrian areas, but also needs to minimize shadows beyond these areas, where attackers could hide.

To go more environmentally friendly, Washburn could also consider using solar lights. It would cut down on electricity costs, and they don’t waste energy but still keep parking lots well lit.

Secondly, it would be helpful for Washburn Police to patrol the parking lots at night more regularly and possibly park in the highly trafficked lots at night.

While WU police offer to walk individuals to their car if they are feeling unsafe, a student may feel uncomfortable reaching out or might feel silly doing so. Also, it can take upwards of 10 minutes for an officer to reach your location. Sometimes we are so tired that we just can’t wait that long.

For individuals that do not feel safe walking to their cars, there are apps out there that will track your location and send alerts if you do not make it to your car or building safely.

Some of these apps are: Watch Over Me, Companion and BSafe.

These apps are designed to track your location and have emergency response systems dialed and ready to go if a crisis occurs.

Washburn students deserve to feel safe on campus, regardless of the amount of sunlight. It is my hope that Washburn hears these concerns and makes steps towards making our campus safer.

Edited by Adam White, Jason Morrison, Joelle Conway