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ISSUE 116 VOL 3 PUBLISHED 9/27/2002

Campus Crime Prevention

By Betsy Pedersen
Staff Writer

Friday, September 27, 2002

Backpacks and coats lay unattended outside of Stav Hall. Post office boxes are without locks. Laptops are left sitting on library tables, while their owners find books in the stacks. Girls walk across campus, alone, in the dark. From the looks of things, St. Olaf is a safe campus. Is life on the Hill as safe as it appears? It is no surprise that St. Olaf is perceived as a safe campus by many. The location of the college alone creates feelings of safety and security. St. Olaf is on a hill outside of town, not a likely place for people to stop unintentionally. The attitude of the people at St. Olaf also fosters a safe atmosphere. A recent interview with Director of Public Safety Fred Behr shed new light on campus safety. If the name Behr rings a bell, one probably recognizes it from Squirrel Mail inbox. Behr sends out e-mails about safety issues around campus in order to raise awareness among students. Early in an interview, Behr established that the college takes the safety of its faculty, staff, and students seriously. Nevertheless, Behr said, You, as an individual, are responsible for about 80 percent of your safety. St. Olaf is notorious for being a safe campus. When asked if this stereotype is accurate, Behr said, 98% of the time they are right. It is true that the campus is generally safe. It is not, however, immune to bad things, which is where Public Safety steps into the picture. Public Safety operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are seven full-time officers on staff, and one building officer during the school year. When asked what the most difficult part of his job is, Behr said, Trying to meet the demands and expectations of the college with only seven officers. Behr believes that there should be two officers on duty at all times, in order to deliver quality services to the campus community. Although it may seem that Public Safety officers spend all of their time issuing parking citations, they really do much more. The statistics speak for themselves. Last school year Public Safety jump started 359 cars, responded to 441 reports, unlocked 809 doors, transported 2,404 students, and assisted 3,587 people. After doing all of that, they managed to find time to issue 4,682 citations. St. Olaf students have mixed feelings about the services that Public Safety provides. Lisa Eidenschink 03 said, With the exception of a few annoying tickets, campus safety does their job well. Public Safety obviously plays a dominant role in creating the safe environment that St. Olaf is known for. There are a number of other programs and organizations geared toward ensuring safety, as well. Safe Ride is a student run service that provides late-night transportation to locations on or near campus. Safe ride operates daily between the hours of 7 PM and 1 AM, and is only a phone call away at extension 3058. The Sexual Assault Resource Network (SARN) is another student-run program created to ensure a safe campus environment. SARN volunteers are certified sexual assault advocates and can be reached round the clock. SARN is a confidential source, and more information about their services can be found on the St. Olaf website. The colleges efforts to create a safe campus environment dont stop with Public Safety and other programs and organizations. Within the past year, St. Olaf has installed a new keycard system in every dormitory. This investment was made with the safety of students in mind. If interested in learning more about safety at St. Olaf, students can refer to the FYI: Information for the St. Olaf Community brochure distributed at the beginning of the school year.

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