MTD helps students stay safe at night

For incoming University students, living in a new environment may raise concerns of their safety and understanding of the layout of campus.

University Police Lt. Roy Acree said that it is essential for new students to understand how to get around campus, and what resources are available to them to add to their safety.

“The transition from home to the University of Illinois campus can be an overwhelming experience in itself,” Acree said. “But even though living on campus may be a lot different that living at home, people still have to use common sense at all times.”

Acree said that students have to learn how to make safe decisions when going around campus, especially at night.

One thing to know is that it is best not to walk alone at night, Acree said. If possible, be with a friend at all times or ride the buses.

“You need to be aware of your surroundings,” Acree said. “Find a place to go if you feel that someone just doesn’t seem right. Call 911 if you have to. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Some students do think that walking around campus alone can be dangerous.

“If I walk by myself at night on campus, it can be very scary,” said Beth Sutherland, junior in ACES.

“I don’t use the public transportation much, but I try to have a friend with me whenever I’m walking at night. I try to be as observant as I can of my surroundings,” she added.

Kristina Naumovski, senior in LAS, said that she had some scary experiences on campus that made her wary of walking home alone at night.

“I’ve actually been attacked twice at night,” Naumovski said. “One time I was in front of the Walgreens on Green Street when a man threatened me and asked for my money. In both situations, I ran away and tried to find a group of people nearby.”

Naumovski said that she sometimes uses the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) public transportation at night when getting across campus.

She also said she had used the SafeRides, a bus service available for people who are traveling alone on campus without a safe means of transportation, once before.

This summer, new bus routes have been created to accommodate more students to get where they need to go on the University campus.

The MTD system has bus lines running during the day and evening that are accessible to anyone on campus, said Bill Volk, managing director for MTD.

“Several new routes will be implemented starting Aug. 15 which will be running later in the night,” Volk said. “SafeRides will now be going until 6 a.m. every morning. There will be 3 SafeRide vehicles on campus every night. There are designated pickup locations which people can go to. All they have to do is call the number … and they’ll be able to be driven home safely.”