Due to recent events, safety awareness and student anxiety about their own safety has been increasing, particularly on popular off-campus locations such as State Street and Langdon Street.
Though a call to action for off-campus blue buttons has been made by the students, we must also take safety measures into our own hands to ensure our wellbeing. With a few helpful tips and reminders of alertness, being safe on and off campus can become less challenging.
Use UW’s SAFEwalk
SAFEwalk is a great service available to all students, where SAFEwalkers accompany students throughout campus and near-campus locations. This is a great tool to use if you are walking home from the library or traveling across campus at night. It gives you power in numbers and puts your mind at ease.
Never walk alone (at night)
Another key tip to ensure your own safety is to never walk alone at night. It is crucial to always walk in at least a pair, if not more. A lot of notable stories are when individuals encounter violence or crime while they are alone, so always text your friends, use a group chat or ask someone you trust to take you home. Walking home alone should never be an option, especially late at night or when someone is under the influence.
Safety smartphone apps
There are also some safety apps that you can download that will come in handy if you ever feel unsafe. SafeTrek is an app developed for college students, and when walking alone you simply launch the app and hold your thumb on the safe button. If you are in danger or need help, releasing the button will notify the local police to your current location.
Another app specifically designed for UW students by the UW Police Department is WiscGaurdian. On this app, you invite friends and family to your “guardian” network, allowing them to virtually walk with you on and off campus. All you do is set a safety timer on the app, and if you do not make it to your destination within your estimated time frame, your guardians will be notified.
You might not know this, but Apple has designed an emergency system in the iPhone. There are many ways to set up your phone as a safety tool.
For iPhones 7 and older, rapidly press the lock button five times and the Emergency SOS slider will appear on the screen. Drag the slider to call emergency services. After the call ends, your phone sends your emergency contacts a text message with current location.
For iPhones 8 and newer, hold down the lock button and one of the volume buttons for five seconds, where an immediate loud alarm sound is let out. The same Emergency SOS slider will appear, and you should drag to call emergency services as well. If for some reason you can’t drag the slider, after the timer goes off, emergency services will be alerted immediately.
Safety is a major concern on any college campus, and though efforts have been made, it is also up to us how mindful, alert and proactive we are when ensuring our own safety. Keeping these helpful tips in mind can create a more secure environment for you and those around you, and lead the UW campus to a safer and happier community.