By Thomas Moran | Staff Writer
According to the U.S. Department of Education, 36,348 criminal offenses were reported on college campuses in 2015 and 1,979 of those offenses occurred on Texas campuses.
Leigh Ann Moffett, director of emergency management at Baylor, is closely involved with campus safety and, in light of these statistics, encourages students to become more knowledgable about campus safety.
On a very basic level, there are certain strategies students can use to avoid being an easy target for crime, Moffett said. She also said being aware of one’s surroundings is a crucial element to personal safety on campus.
“Confidence … exude confidence,” Moffett said. “Don’t walk with your nose in your phone and acting like your scared. Be alert. Watch your own.”
Simple changes such as these can drastically increase your safety on and off campus, Moffett said.
Aside from body language and environmental awareness, Baylor Police Chief Brad Wigtil said he urges students to be knowledgeable of the resources available to them to increase personal safety.
BU Campus Guardian is a free cellphone application that allows students to keep track of one another. Students are able to enter a specific destination and estimated time of travel. If the student does not reach their destination by the pre-determined time, their friends will get an alert from the app and be able to check in on them. Police can be contacted through the app, and the Baylor Department of Public Safety is able to establish nearly the exact location of a student if they require assistance.
There are currently 81 emergency call boxes and 152 emergency telephones across campus that immediately connect students to the Baylor Police Department. Wigtil said he suggests that students be aware of these locations to assist them if they feel unsafe or are involved in an emergency situation.
Students are also able to contact the police for an escort to their residence if they feel uncomfortable crossing campus at night, Wigtil said. They will even bring students to off-campus sites, within reason.
Wigtil said there are around 1,076 cameras on campus as well, which hopefully contributes to the student body’s sense of security. However, when in doubt, Wigtil said students should always feel comfortable to call the police.
“Be proactive. … If students become aware of any disconcerting acts of any individual, including fellow students, call the Baylor Police Department,” Wigtil said.
Dallas freshman Melinda White said Baylor leadership and the many resources and safety precautions that Baylor maintains provides her with peace of mind when crossing campus alone in the evening, which she says is a nightly occurrence.
“It makes me feel incredibly safe, especially when I found out that you can just give a call to a police officer and they’ll drive you home,” White said. “I think it’s so great that Baylor is putting safety first.”
Ultimately, everyone plays a part in campus safety and has a responsibility to look out for one another, Wigtil said.
The necessary information that students need for campus safety can be accessed on the Baylor Police Department website.