What line of protection does FAMU offer to students living on campus or visiting the campus after dark? With the recent increase of crimes in Tallahassee, collegiate safety and security are becoming priorities for the Tallahassee Police Department.
Students Available For Escort (S.A.F.E.) team is a group of students that safely escort other students to various places located around campus. The members of the team can be seen stationed in front of the library asking students if they would like an escort. Sometimes even before they have the opportunity to ask, they are approached by students who feel unsafe walking alone.
Any student can recognize the orange jackets or shirts the members wear.
Since they are so easily identifiable, students turn to them for a sense of security.
But how real is the security they provide?
President and Director, Derron Bennett, explained that the purpose of the S.A.F.E. team is to escort people around campus, report dangerous situations around campus and to be the eyes and ears of the FAMU Police Department.
Bennett said that if someone they are escorting is attacked, they cannot help. If that happens they have to call for help over the radios given to them by FAMUPD.
When asked why the members cannot help, Officer Sherri Luke, the team’s adviser, said that the “job of the members is often confused.”
She goes on to say that “it’s not their job to challenge, it’s their job to be aware of surroundings.” If there is an attack or the members feel unsafe they carry radios that link to FAMUPD.
Bennett makes it clear that since the S.A.F.E. team was established none of the members have been attacked.
However, if S.A.F.E can’t help in an attack, what type of security are they actually providing?
The objective of the team is to provide a feeling of group security. “People feel safe in groups and the chance of getting attacked is slim,” said team member Kerry Joseph.
In her article “Crime Prevention and Campus Safety,” Debbie Yeh mentions that walking in pairs helps prevent attacks. “You are stronger as a group and less likely to be attacked,” Yeh said.
Although they aren’t crime stoppers or protectors, the S.A.F.E. team does make students feel safe.
“Since it gets dark early, I ask one of them [S.A.F.E. members] to walk me to my car because weird people are out,” said Nychi Heath, a senior business administration student from Chicago.
Although there has been a decrease in crime over the past three years, students should always be cautious.
Yeh reminds us to always walk in pairs, plan ahead, choose streets carefully and have your cell phone handy.
For more information about campus safety visit www.securityoncampus.org.
Contact Shamika Townsend at Liztownsend90@hotmail.com