New app refreshes campus safety

by Emmilly Nguyen, Senior Staff Writer

In light of last semester’s sexual assault allegations, attempted kidnappings and thefts, the San Diego State Police Department has received a lot of criticism from the student body and the community in regard to safety on campus. Although messages and tips about safety were clearly delivered as various crimes were committed, a concrete plan didn’t seem to be in sight.

As a result, the relationship between the student body and the police department has been strained. However, it is a new year and SDSUPD is trying to turn over a new leaf with improvements to campus safety and frankly, it’s about time.

Sexual assault alone took center stage for safety concerns last semester. It was one sexual assault case after another. Over the course of the semester, students received chilling crime alerts regarding sexual assault reports with vague descriptions of suspects.

Similar to reactions seen on college campuses across the nation, students were angry and wanted justice for the women who were harmed. Students wanted to once again feel safe on campus, their school and in some cases, homes.

To improve campus safety this semester, SDSUPD has intensified its efforts in making this campus a safer place. Aside from various minority sensitivity trainings, the development of the campus safety app is currently underway.

“The app will allow quick access to crime reporting, crime prevention information and access to police services,” SDSUPD Capt. Joshua Mays said. “So yes, I am optimistic. This is another tool to help enhance student safety.”

According to Mays, this app is paid for by anonymous parent donations and is predicted to be accessible later this spring semester. Services provided by the app will include: Escort services, instructions for emergencies, crime maps and safety shuttles tracked by GPS.

Like Mays, many students are optimistic about the new semester and excited to use the app after the spike in crime reports last semester.

“I definitely would use an app like that,” advertising junior Sahvanna Ettestad said.

Ettestad, a transfer student from Chico State University, said she has felt relatively safe on campus even when leaving campus after her night classes, but that the app would definitely be useful.

In contrast, as a student who lives on campus, business management freshman Erica Saechao said she feels “somewhat” safe while walking around and is always more cautious of people around her when she is out in the evenings.

Regardless of the level of safety students feel on campus, there is definitely a strong consensus for the necessity of this app. Given the new trend of different apps for smart phones, it may be the best way to contact or communicate with fellow college-age students.

“Some people don’t want to call in and would rather use the app,” Saechao said. “It would be easier, since we are all on our phones all of the time.”

Experienced in dealing with the college student demographic, SDSUPD has finally made strides toward improving safety on campus through a channel that’s attracting students, and it’s about time that students see something being done.

The implementation of the app and sensitivity training exemplify campus police efforts to be more responsive to the students and their needs. These are just a few of the changes on campus, this semester, fashioned to create a more harmonious environment.

Remember Aztecs, when you are out at night, make sure to always be aware of your surroundings. Let’s take initiative and start the semester sensible, smart and safe.