Police answer late-night safety concerns
At the beginning of every semester, the University of Delaware Police Department (UDPD) and members of the Resident Student Association (RSA), take a walk around campus with the emergency environmental control to discuss areas with high student traffic or with the most dangerous reportings.
For example, there aren’t any blue lights on Amstel Avenue, which concerns student representatives, but police officers said there is nothing to worry about.
Sophomore Alex Schwartz and senior Matt Hermenau are both members of the Resident Student Association (RSA). Before midnight, they said the campus is a very safe place, but after dark they’re more cautious.
“Can we have blue lights off campus?” Hermenau asked. “It’s really dark on Amstel Avenue, and that’s where a lot of students walk at night.”
UDPD said that there are already a lot of blue lights off campus, but that even if students don’t see one nearby, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to communicate with the police to ensure safety.
Police Chief Patrick Ogden and Captain Jason Pires said the LiveSafe app is “a blue light in your pocket” available to students.
“We overcome the gap of blue lights on certain parts of campus by having the LiveSafe app, that students can download for free,” Ogden said.
Students can press a button on the app and UDPD will immediately be notified of where the student is and can track the student as they walk if they keep pressing the button.
Students can also have a friend monitor them on the SafeWalk app, which is used on campuses across the country, and is now connected to the university.
“Set the app for 10 minutes, and if you don’t turn the timer off, it will call your friends and let them know that you need to be checked up on,” Capt. Pires said. “The app is an alternative to having a friend watch you walk from one place to another on the LiveSafe app, because at 3 a.m. your friends will probably be asleep.”
Capt. Pires also said that there’s a function on the app where if students don’t feel comfortable calling the police, they can send an anonymous text to the UDPD, where they will enter a live dialogue with a police officer and can explain why they are feeling unsafe or what they are reporting.
Ogden said there are over 460 cameras on campus to ensure complete safety, but Schwartz said he can point out a square on South Campus where he’s never been able to see any cameras, and that worries him.
If a student still is feeling unsafe, there are 50 students employed, most in the interest of becoming a police officer or other type of safety authority, called the Student Cadets. These cadets can be contacted through UDPD and will escort a student from one place to another if they feel unsafe walking alone.
Other dangerous areas were mentioned. Schwartz and Hermenau were concerned about the length of time at the crosswalk over Cleveland Avenue, which Ogden said will be investigated to help ensure safety. There is also a group of students employed to survey traffic across Academy Street and find out the best solution there for students’ safety, he said.
Schwartz said that throughout the school year there are meetings with the UDPD, including one coming up after midterms, and they hope discuss more safety concerns with the officers at that time.
“There are a lot of materials available to students to make them feel as safe as possible,” Ogden said. “And we are ready to work on any improvements, like the Cleveland crosswalk, that are brought to our attention.”