Be aware, be safe, be happy

Many students were put on edge during the first few days of the new semester, as multiple reports surfaced of two men driving around in a sports car and stopping to rob people at gunpoint. When one of the suspects turned himself in, those fears should have been lessened. However, reports have since poured in about another individual who is breaking into people’s apartments.

If any meaning is to be drawn from these crimes, it’s that they are not coming from one specific individual, and they can take place anywhere.

They also serve as a reminder that the Baylor Bubble is just that – a bubble. We live in a city of 130,000 people, and there are bound to be some people willing to break the law in the mix.

Though there are people in the Waco area willing to resort to robbery and theft, it does not mean we should live in fear. Rather, the robberies serve as an opportunity for students to make sure they are taking proper measures to ensure their safety. It can also offer an opportunity to review the resources offered by the university in emergency situations.

It is always best to travel in groups, but circumstances don’t always permit this – say you’ve been at Moody for the last 15 hours and need to go home to cook some ramen. When trekking home alone, please be aware of your surroundings. Unfortunately, one’s own apartment isn’t always safe, which has been highlighted by the recent burglaries. When walking or exiting a vehicle at night, try to remain in a well-lit area where there are other people. It’s also a good idea to be on the phone with a friend or family member, just in case.

While at home, lock the door. This isn’t the ’50s, nor do we live in Canada, so just lock your dang door. Many homes and apartments even come equipped with multiple locks and chains inaccessible from the outside, in the case that the person trying to break in knows how to pick locks.

The university has reminded students of the 80 different emergency call boxes stationed around campus and has encouraged anyone in an emergency situation to call Baylor police at 254-710-2222.

For those who feel they can fend for themselves should an individual attempt to rob them, it’s imperative they know the difference between a robber and a burglar. In most cases, a burglar wants to get in and out of the scene as quickly as possible – only taking items of interest to them. A robber, however, is willing to confront someone and threaten him or her for money, whether it be with a knife, a gun or their bodily force.

Because robbers are willing to use any means necessary to get what they want, it’s never a good idea to engage with them. Simply complying to their demands and fleeing the scene immediately is the best course of action. Once safely away, you can always call the police in hopes of identifying the robber.

Should you choose to resist or fight back, you put yourself at risk of the irrationality of the robber. Sure, you might get to keep that $5 bill in your wallet or those 7¢ in your college-depleted bank account, but is it really worth the risk?

Of course it would be better if no one felt they needed to rob others. But we don’t live in that world yet, and it doesn’t help anyone to be ill prepared. Be aware of your surroundings, lock your doors, and — good grief — stop walking around the streets late at night.