Feel safe at Tech, but make sure to take proper safety precautions

Walking along the Tech campus with all the trees, green space, sporting facilities and housing one often forgets that you are in the heart of Atlanta. Being a campus located in a metropolitan city presents itself with unique challenges. With the decline of the economy, crime has become an increased concern for both parents and students. Having lived in Atlanta and worked at Tech for ten years, I thought I would talk about some practical safety tips that I try to every day.

According to the Atlanta Police Department (APD) the two predominant incidents in Zone 5 are panhandling and larcenies from autos. The Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) has partnered with the APD and launched the Clean Car Campaign. By removing all valuables from your car, such as iphones, computers, change, jackets, bags, etc. you reduce the odds of your car being illegally entered by nearly 95%.

If you live, work or play at Tech you are one of its citizens, and as such we all have a responsibility to one another. Therefore, if you see something that does not look right, it is your responsibility and right to contact the GTPD (4-2500) immediately. If it is an emergency though, call 911 immediately and they will route you through.

Criminals look for easy targets, such as those not paying attention to where they are and what is going on around them. Being distracted can mark you as a potential victim. When walking alone at night, take out the ipod earphones, end the cell phone conversation, walk upright and with determination and pay attention to where you are going and what is around you. At your car, simply taking a moment to look around and see what is going on can deter a criminal from attacking you. Be mindful of what you see and what you do.

They are here to protect and serve.

Lock your car doors. If you feel unsafe in any room, lock the door. Do not open the door to strangers. Do not keep front doors to buildings propped open after hours.

There is safety in numbers. If you need to be out on the streets at night, make sure you walk with a group of people. If you want to go out at night, plan on going to events that draw large crowds, such as a football game or the movie theaters.

Carry a whistle, pepper spray or a personal alarm with you at all times. Personal alarms will emanate noise and let everyone in the vicinity know that you need help. Criminals rarely want to be seen and will run away once you start making a noise.

First of all, this is a sure way to loose your laptops and other belongings. Secondly, by leaving your bag unattended, you only raise suspicion. No one knows what is in your bag, and one should always assume the worst and call GTPD to come check it out.

Need a ride home to Home Park or Centennial Place after 6pm and before 6:30am? No problem, Parking and Transportation has launched a pilot program this fall semester where you can purchase a 5 ride or 10 ride voucher for $4/ride. The Stingerette will pick you up anywhere on campus and deliver you directly to your front door.

Have you noticed a street lamppost that is out? Call the telephone number indicated on it. Facilities will come out and replace the lamp right away. Notice any other safety problems on campus, then notify GTPD SGA immediately so that it can be addressed.

These are all practical tips that we can each practice everyday to make Tech a safer environment. I hope you will join me in raising safety awareness and sharing this information with your peers.