Campus safety a cohesive effort

Crime-Alerts have become a regular reality check. During October, students received six e-mails from the University’s Chief of Police Barbara O’Connor detailing the latest incidents on campus.

Many of the times and places of these crimes were alarming. A man trying to break into a stall in a Madigan Lab women’s restroom at 3:30 in the afternoon.

A handgun aimed at a man’s face before midnight on East Daniel Street. An aggravated battery before 7:30 p.m. near Daniels Hall on Green Street. A woman robbed outside an ATM on Green Street at 7:30 p.m.

Do we view going to the bathroom in the middle of the day as a risk-filled outing? Walking down Daniel Street a risk to be caught in crosshairs? Traveling down a major, well-traveled street before 7:30 p.m. as putting ourselves in danger of being attacked? Stopping at an ATM in a well-lit area around dinner time? Apparently, we should.

We often focus on safety while out late at night, and statistics have proved that a valid concern.

However, it’s clear carrying mace and walking in groups on your way home at night isn’t going to protect you from everything.

It’s not enough to just look out for ourselves. We need to keep an eye out for our fellow Illini. If something happens, we need to report it immediately, before the tragedy is repeated.

Our hearts ache for the students of Northern Illinois University and the friends and family of Antinette Keller. Her tragedy reminds us that it could happen here just as easily; that it could have been one of us. We feel for the victims of every Crime-Alert and instance of crime on this campus as well. We deserve to feel safe at our own university.

We aren’t saying that you should panic every time you see ‘Crime-Alert’ pop into your inbox; just because crimes are being reported more frequently does not mean crime itself is on the rise. However, the nature of these crimes is a wake up call.

If you see something happening, report it. If something happens to you, don’t wait to call the police.

We may not all know each other, but we cannot be a school of strangers concerned only about ourselves and a few friends. Be in touch with the reality of what might be happening, and don’t stand idly by if you see a chance to safeguard our community. We all need to work together toward a safer campus.