Editorial: These days, it’s all about learning to keep yourself safe

Photo courtesy of Atlanta Police Department | The Signal Surveillance video catches the moment before a 2012 shooting happened

It’s hard to ask an underfunded team of police officers to keep a campus of 30,000 safe at all times. It’s what we expect, but how realistic is it, really?

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Think about it, how many times do you enter and leave Langdale Hall, walk through Sparks Hall to avoid the cold or take a shortcut through Kell Hall? Was your ID checked even once? Did anyone pat you down? How many times during your shortcuts have you ever gone through metal detectors?

It would be an unfathomable effort to attempt to check each student that enters every building at all times. There’s just too many of us! But today, it feels like maybe that would be the only step closer towards safety.

Georgia State is not new to crime. In the heart of Downtown, we’ve felt our cell phones ring to the sound of another campus broadcast, another student getting their phone snatched, and back in the good ole days, strings of library robbings which almost always hinted gun violence. And we’ve always conveniently turned and pointed our fingers to the Georgia State police.

“They’re not doing enough” or “there’s not enough of them out there” or “they’re all useless” are just a few of the typical blaming points towards GSUPD. We blamed them when our library was attacked and we blame them every time there’s a theft or when they’re not around campus riding their bikes or segways. But the truth is, there’s probably nothing else they can do.

Our university police department hasn’t been doing a shabby job at all. While the presence of police can’t be felt 24/7 everywhere, you’ll quite often notice patrol cars driving block-to-block with their lights on every weekend, or even police officers standing outside at night on block corners, quietly monitoring. But despite it all, it seems there’s still crime slipping through the cracks. So how do we stay safe?

Always be cautious. All the time, everywhere. Even when it feels like you’re being a little paranoid, or judging someone you shouldn’t be. Gut feelings can sometimes save a life. Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t play your music too loud. Don’t look down at your phone when you’re walking alone. Be hyper-alert. When something doesn’t feel right, walk away. Take control of your own safety and always stay in environments you feel safe in. If you’re breaking a sweat at a public space (and with all that’s happening, how could you not be) walk out, and take a break for a minute.

It sucks to admit that nowhere is safe. No one can guarantee protection — not even our police force. And it doesn’t look like our lawmakers are springing to our aid in hopes of decreasing gun violence either, so don’t get your hopes up about campus carry going anywhere any time soon.

You never know what’s going through the mind of the person walking next to you. You don’t know what they’re carrying and you don’t know what happened during their day. Keep yourselves safe by staying aware all the time, everywhere.

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