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Editorial: Safety is a collective effort

There are numerous policies and procedures in place for keeping VSU students and the community safe.

Some procedures are working well while others are turning out to be better in theory than in reality.

Some have worked such as the use of color cards, but others have not such as text alerts. Others are supposed to work but have become damaged without being repaired.

Almost a year ago there was an armed robbery at Sustella Market on Nov. 14, 2015. In the report, it was stated that the authorities were not notified until almost 45 minutes after the robbery due to alert system malfunctions. The Spectator sent two reporters to investigate the scene and found that the security camera behind the register appeared molded over.

Campus safety stated that the security footage would be reviewed, and that they would aim to make text and call alerts mandatory.

The Spectator recently sent out reporters to see how much has changed in a year.  Unfortunately, not much has.

The camera behind the register still appears molded over and some of the employees don’t believe the alert system works. In addition to this, many students across campus have complained that they’re not receiving text alerts even though they’re sure they signed up for them.

This is not to say campus safety is not doing their job to protect us. There are plenty of procedures that have been implemented on campus that have made VSU a safer place.

Nov. 18, 2012, VSU student Jasmine Benjamin was found unresponsive in Georgia Hall.  She was later pronounced dead by the Lowndes County coroner.  The cause of death was asphyxiation and her murderer, Darien Meheux, was arrested approximately two months later.

VSU now requires all residents to carry and show a color card in order to get into their dorms.  This safety measure is to ensure only residents are entering residence halls.  Additionally, the security cameras around campus have been upgraded.

However, there are still crimes that go on every day.  A look at the daily crime reports will show that theft often occurs.  According to Charles Alan Rowe, Chief of VSU police, the most commonly stolen items are textbooks and electronics; these items are usually taken when left unattended.

Students can go to the police to have their items marked, but should try to keep their valuables with them at all times to avoid theft.

We need to be aware that there are steps to take to ensure our own safety before leaving it to campus procedures to protect us.  However, if one of the steps we take is signing up for text alerts, campus safety needs to make sure we will get them.

Most of us keep our phones with us at all times, but when an alert was sent out that classes were cancelled due to the storm Hermine, many of us were not aware until logging onto a computer.

This was not a huge issue because we had a lot of time to find out classes were cancelled before showing up for them the next day, but if it had been an incident that required immediate action, many of us would have gone unaware of the danger.

The existence of safety measures is great, but they need to work. Crime cannot be eliminated, but it can be reduced further if we avoid vulnerable situations and campus safety ensured all systems work in addition to just installing them.

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