Make safety a personal priority

As many, if not all, of you know, The Famuan’s news editor, Nefertiti Williams, was found dead Nov. 23, and as of 11:30 that night, the police suspected foul play, according to an article on

But as of Friday, she was believed to have been fatally shot by a person who later took his own life, according to Nefertiti’s autopsy report.

So as we finish the semester, an important thing everyone should focus on is keeping safety in mind.

Whether it’s not locking our dorm or apartment door because we are “coming right back” or walking somewhere alone at night, many students, faculty members, staff members and other people take chances everyday.

I remember when I came to orientation in 2002, countless speakers preached to the incoming class how easy it is for people to prey on people new to the city, especially students.

In 2005, with an estimated population of 17.8 million, Florida experienced 164,000 reported counts of burglary, 6,592 reported forcible rapes and 883 reported murders, according to

Nearly 900 out of about 17 million puts the odds in our favor, but there is always that chance that we could be next.

None of the people who were with Nef at our professor’s house Tuesday knew that less than three, no, two full days later, she could possibly fit into these statistics.

So now we are faced with how we can better protect ourselves.

According to, there are basic things people can do around campus and at home to keep out of danger.

While walking around campus, people should stay in well-lit areas with which they are familiar. If you must walk alone, know where the emergency lights are located and be cautious of your surroundings. That means take out the iPod when walking alone.

Students who live on campus should be wary of who enters their living area. If you don’t feel safe around your roommate’s company, let your voice be heard.

People who live in an apartment or a house should know which neighbors to trust, keep emergency numbers near and stay out of the laundry room or parking garage alone as much as possible.

One thing I never thought to do, but will do in the future, is change my locks after moving in my new place. Just because housing complexes require people to turn in keys does not mean the former occupants did so.

Nefertiti was my co-worker, classmate and, most importantly, my friend.

I would do her memory a huge injustice if I did not try to inform others about how to avoid a tragedy.

It is important that we take our safety seriously.

Brandon D. Oliver is a senior magazine production student from Palatka. He can be reached at