Whether it’s #New2OSU for some or back to OSU for others, there’s no denying the thrill of returning to campus. But between reuniting with friends and the close of the first week of classes, it can be easy to forget about something that affects all of us: safety.
Students arriving to campus received two safety awareness messages in the span of a couple of days informing them of multiple armed robberies. After personally meeting and collaborating with representatives of public safety this past year, I have full faith in the efforts of our campus and local law enforcement to prevent and combat crime. But when it comes to safety — what can students do to protect themselves?
Below is a list of five outstanding safety resources that my fellow Buckeyes can use to become more aware of crime and help ensure their safety this year.
- LifeLine Response Safety App
This is an extremely underutilized mobile safety app that has been made available and free for OSU students. Walking alone late at night and don’t feel safe? Press and hold the screen. The moment you let go a blaring phone alarm is triggered followed by a phone call to ensure your safety. Police are immediately sent to your GPS location as well.
Don’t worry about mistakenly setting off a false alarm. The app also allows a Panic Button mode. Instead of holding the screen continuously, just press it when you’re in danger. Users can also post descriptions of suspicious activity to be shared on a map display for those nearby, helping other students to stay vigilant. Learn more at http://llresponse.com/
- Bug Your Bike – Columbus
Unfortunately, we all know of someone or have been that someone who has gotten his or her bike stolen on campus. But don’t think that a stolen bike is gone forever. Just like lost dogs, stolen bikes can find their way back home with an incredible program called Bug Your Bike.
The Bug Your Bike program allows riders to register a bike online, over phone, or in person. Give identifying features of the bike, model and serial number, and the information will be logged into a database. The city will send you a free chip that you can stick on your bike in a concealed location. The city of Columbus, OSU and COTA can help identify lost or stolen bikes using these chips and return them back to their owners. Visit Bug Your Bike’s website or call 645-8366 to get more information.
- Student Life’s free safety alarms and light timers
Located on the third floor of the Ohio Union, the Office of Student Life’s Off-Campus and Commuter Student Services offers many resources, including window and door alarms and safety light timers. Stop by Ohio Union Room 3106, fill out a form and get these items for free to protect your house or apartment.
- Buckeye Alerts and Public Safety Notices
Buckeye Alerts are OSU’s premier safety notification system. As described by the Department of Public Safety, “A Buckeye Alert, often sent via text message, is issued when it is determined that the campus community needs to take immediate action to remain safe.”
Students may already be enrolled in this service, but it does not hurt to check or update information. Just log onto Buckeye Link, scroll to “Personal Information,” click on “Phone” and then add or edit your mobile number.
Students also can subscribe to Public Safety Notices if they have not done so already through the Department of Public Safety’s website. These notices are emailed to students when incidences of concern occur on campus.
- Aware OSU
This email service, created by Cailin Pitt, a fifth-year in computer science and engineering, notifies subscribers daily of all crimes occurring both on and off campus. According to Aware OSU’s website, the program collects data from Columbus Division of Police’s unofficial web report portal as well as University Police’s daily crime log. Subscribers can opt to receive daily or weekly updates, and can even view locations of crime in a map view as well. Learn more at https://cailinpitt.github.io/AwareOSU/
There are countless safety resources beyond these five that OSU students can use as well. Remember, if you see something, say something: Report suspicious activity on campus to University Police at 614-292-2121. University Police officers are very visible and approachable. Take a moment to speak to a police officer, as they are committed to building relationships and ensuring the safety of all students. Practice safe habits, watch out for one another and remember to stay safe out there, Buckeyes.
University Area Safety Committee, USG
Third-year in neuroscience