Escort service opinions differ

by Ana Ceballos

02_12_13_News_EscortService_ACTo prevent instances of violence from arising, the San Diego State Police Department has employed community officers to accompany students to their on-campus destinations from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. seven days a week.

According to the SDSUPD, in the last year there were 548 larcenies, 71 assaults and 11 rapes reported on campus.

The Safety Escort Service employs 26 community service officers, who are SDSU students fulfilling internships at the SDSUPD. CSO recruitment is often difficult because new hires graduate and a required 35-page background check must be completed by recruits, Auxiliary Services Coordinator Shawn Brown said.

“The more demand there is about this service the safer students will be,” Brown said. “We do our best to get it out there.”

Brown says weekends are extremely difficult because of the high demand for CSOs limits their availability to escort students prior to 3 a.m. After 3 a.m., a police officer on duty provides the service if needed. In addition to the Safety Escort Service, the SDSUPD offers the free Red and Black Shuttle and Library Shuttle operating to drive students to their destinations.

“Because our CSOs are students, we can only provide escorts until 3 a.m.,” Brown said. “We can’t ask very much of them with this service when they already have a lot of other duties during the internship.”

CSOs are also responsible for closing down the library and checking buildings for suspicious activity after hours.

According to SDSUPD reports from last year, there were 3,168 students escorted to their desired destination and the demand for CSOs doubled, going from 14 to 26 new employees in just one year.

Even though this service exists to provide protection to students, there have been complaints about the service’s efficiency.

Biology sophomore Clarice Mendoza said she felt “disgusted” at the solution the service gave her when she asked to have her and a group of four females escorted at 11 p.m. from the Music building to Parking Structure 4.

“They told us that we had a big enough group of people and that we should just walk ourselves,” Mendoza said. “A group of females didn’t feel safe walking to PS4 and the escort service didn’t do their job.”

Mendoza said this incident happened a few days after an attempted shooting in F Lot.

Business management Shelby Mundee complained about the service because at the time of her request, she was asked to wait for the police officer to pick her up late at night.

“Even though it took them 10 minutes to respond, I did not feel safe waiting on the corner of a street,” Mundee said.

Communications senior Nicollette Noriega often has on all-nighters at Love Library and uses the service twice a week during the semester and sometimes four to six times a week during finals. Noriega said the service puts her at ease knowing she will be safe even if she is out walking late at night.

“Considering the crime alerts we constantly receive through emails and being a girl,” Noriega said. “It most definitely makes me feel compelled and at ease by using the escort service.”

Brown said he wants every student to feel safe and know how to call the police or escort service in any type of emergency.

To request an escort during the semester, call 619-594-6659,