Staying safe over summer should be top priority for all

When the days get longer and warmer, the tension of the winter and early spring starts to evaporate. Everyone relaxes a little bit, even if they still have classes and work demanding their attention. It’s natural to feel a little less burdened as traditional classes and the weather breaks, but i…When the days get longer and warmer, the tension of the winter and early spring starts to evaporate. Everyone relaxes a little bit, even if they still have classes and work demanding their attention.

It’s natural to feel a little less burdened as traditional classes and the weather breaks, but it’s still important to stay vigilant when you’re on campus over the summer. Just after midnight on Sunday, a student walking near Beckman Institute on the Bardeen Quad was punched and kicked by several assailants who stole his backpack. The student was not seriously injured, but the incident should serve as a caution to those who are on campus over the summer. Even when most of the University is away, we are still as vulnerable to robberies, rapes, beatings and other attacks. It’s important not to let the pleasant weather and slower pace of the summer lull us into a false sense of complacency when it comes to personal safety.

A message sent by the campus chief of police over the weekend offers useful safety guidelines: avoid walking alone at night, keep doors and windows locked, and stay aware of your surroundings at all times. Before you go out for the night, let a friend or roommate know where you’re headed and when you’ll be back. The summer is always an opportunity to relax and have a good time, but not at the expense of your well-being. Alcohol interferes with your ability to react quickly to situations and recognize risks, so responsible drinking behavior is an important part of personal safety. Look out for others as well as yourself; Don’t let friends leave a party alone, and cut someone off if they’ve had too much to drink. They may not thank you at the moment, but in the long run, it’s better to have an angry friend than a victimized friend. IPods, cell phones, and other personal technology devices can make it harder to be aware of your surroundings, as well as being a magnet for theft, so don’t get so involved in your music or conversation that you lose track of where you are.

Always trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe, get to a well-lit area with other people as quickly as you can, or use a call box or your cell phone to contact police. If someone threatens you and asks for your money or property, give it to them. Your safety and well-being are more important than any of your possessions.

If you are attacked or witness a crime, be sure to report it to the police. Police can only act on what they know about, and reporting suspicious activity keeps everyone safer. Sunday morning’s attack is still under investigation, and anyone with information about it is urged to contact University Police or Crimestoppers. Take advantage of all the opportunities the summer offers to enjoy yourself, but remember to relax responsibly. Our campus is only as safe as we keep it.