Student safety back in spotlight

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Spring rolls around, and Ohio State students maybe some who are living in a big city for the first time, maybe some convinced that they're invulnerable leave the windows open, the doors ajar.

They venture out at night more often than they would in January. And as they have since 2005, a group of student leaders, school officials and outsiders are coming together to say: Even though it's warm, you still should be careful.

The OSU police, Office of Student Affairs and student government representatives joined with the Columbus Division of Police and civilian Community Crime Patrol last month to announce their spring-quarter safety initiative.

It's a push that will last through early June. "We're looking at reducing the number of burglaries, robberies and thefts from autos," said Ohio State Police Capt. Eric Whiteside. "We have a common purpose, a common goal."

Beefed-up off-campus police patrols will continue every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the next several months. The patrols start around sundown and continue until early morning.

They focus on the heavily student-populated areas east of High Street. The initiative isn't much different from those announced in the past few years, said Ruth Gerstner, student affairs spokeswoman.

The new parts are mostly variations of the old for example, along with safety leaflets, some students will get T-shirts that read "Keep Them Locked," said Willie Young, director of Off-Campus Student Services. Safety e-mails will go out to students as they have in the past, he said.

The university, through the student government, is funding two more Community Crime Patrol teams than last fall. The student government hopes to distribute more of the window alarms that it bought last year, Young said.

The student government also has bought portable defibrillators for the Student Safety/Escort Service and hopes to hold a "safety day" in the next few weeks, said Ian Young, a senior and director of the group's committee on safety and security.

Whiteside said the efforts represent more collaboration than in previous years. "We plan to communicate in this effort more than we have before," he said.