On Nov. 1, clocks were turned backward one hour for daylight savings. This resulted in brighter mornings and, sadly, darker evenings with the sun setting an hour earlier. This said, from five to six o’clock in the evening is when students and faculty will return home from campus or even head off to their evening jobs. This is also a time of the year when robbery reports escalate and many of us reconsider our evening routes and plans in order to be smart about our safety.
It is easy for students to say, “don’t walk home, take the Roo,” or “have someone pick you up.” But not every student has a car, time to wait for the Roo bus, or the option of having someone escort them from campus to their home. Therefore, if one must walk, walk with a group of people or plan when to catch the Roo. Because robberies often occur when you’re alone, this is when you are most vulnerable.
Students and faculty should be alert and constantly checking surroundings when walking to their cars or bikes. When walking in a group or alone, do not take shortcuts and trust your gut feeling for any abnormal activity, and stay in well-lit areas.
Make sure to park in a well-lit area if you expect to leave when it is dark outside. Check for suspicious activity, and scan under your car to ensure no one is there waiting for you.
Try not to focus much on a text or social media at night on your cellphone. I would not advise wearing headphones, because you might not hear an attacker soon enough to run or respond safely. If you must wear headphones, keep them low in order to hear what is going on around you.
The University of Akron provides campus patrol to escort you to and from your car, classrooms, and labs for 24 hours, seven days a week. Call the service at 330 972-2911. If you need to walk alone at night, consider purchasing pepper spray or a pocket knife. If you see a UAPD officer, be sure to ask them where to buy these safety weapons in case of an emergency.
If, in the worst-case scenario, you are robbed, do not be difficult; you should not fight or argue with a robber. Follow the robber’s directions. If you have to reach for something, tell the robber of your intentions. Make mental notes of the robber’s description, anything unusual, and any other information helpful to catching the perpetrator. After the incident, be sure to call 911 and then the UAPD so that it can be recorded. Then appropriate action can be taken to prevent further harm to other students and faculty here at UA.