Students and administrators gathered outside of GTPD on Tuesday evening to take part in SGA’s Campus Safety Walk. The walk followed a path through the center of campus that students commonly make from West to East Campus. There were several stops along the walk to highlight the safety concerns in particular areas. Speakers highlighted special safety issues such as bike theft, criminal trespassing, larceny and assault.
Institute President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, GTPD Chief of Police Teresa Crocker and other top administrators from across campus took part in the walk while speaking about safety and listening to students as they voiced their own safety concerns.
“One of the things that we did differently this year was to bring in a lot of different students from different areas and have them comment so that we had a broad range of people from different backgrounds,” said Nicholas Robson, the SGA Planning and Development Chair and a second-year AE major.
According to Chief Crocker, any concerns raised during the safety walks are put on a list that is shared between facilities, GTPD, parking and housing. The concerns are checked off of the list as they are addressed throughout the year.
Crocker, who has been conducting safety walks on college campuses since the 80’s, noted that early on at Tech, the largest concern was placed on campus lighting. She referenced a part of the Pi Mile near the student center parking deck that was poorly lit until a few years ago when the issue was raised on a similar walk.
“That’s part of the Pi Mile, so there are a lot of people that run that course early in the morning and late at night, and it was just an area that wasn’t very well lit,” Crocker said.
While leading the walk along Atlantic Drive, Robson pointed out the potential safety hazard presented by the ongoing open construction area on the Bunger-Henry Building that spilled into the street. As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, that section of Atlantic Drive had been closed and roped off with caution tape.
“It’s enormously helpful for us to hear from students about what they think the problems are. We have our perceptions of what the problems are, but sometimes they’re not completely on track,” Peterson said.
At the end of the walk, two RAs from North Ave. Apartments spoke about problems they frequently saw there. The number one issue they reported was the general unawareness of students with their surroundings within the complex. Administrators focused their North Ave. concerns on the heavy traffic across the state highway.
“There’s so much traffic and there are so many pedestrians that it’s a challenge for us,” Peterson said.
This year, two students have been struck by vehicles while crossing North Avenue within signed crosswalks. Tech is working with state officials as well as the CEO of Coca-Cola to improve the entire North Avenue streetscape to make it safer for student pedestrians. Campus crime as a whole is down approximately 20 percent from the same time last year.