IUPUI Safewalk is a program that allows students the opportunity to be escorted from any location to their cars or any building within campus. In between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight Monday through Friday, the parking services provide an escort upon request. All other times, the IUPD will escort students.
Aside from the opportunity for a safe escort to or from your car, students who utilize services on campus late at night such as the library or 24-hour laboratory could find the IUPUI Safewalk extremely useful. The IUPUI Safewalk eliminates the fear some students have about coming to or from campus after dark.
Some students feel safe enough that they do not need to use this service, but surprisingly most students simply do not know about it.
David Briggs, the public information officer at IUPUI, claimed that information packets about IUPUI Safewalk are given to students at orientation, and at safety presentations. Still, many students don’t know it exists.
“I didn’t even know it existed,” Natalie Harris, a sophomore at IUPUI, said while walking late at night, “I probably would have used it if I had heard of someone using it or knew more, or anything about it for that matter.”
“I’ve never found it necessary because I always had pepper spray and would carry my keys defensively, but sometimes during my freshman year I would have to walk across campus for night classes and I felt so much safer just knowing the option was available, even though I didn’t use it.” Kasen Welling, sophomore, said.
IUPUI just released its annual safety report for September 2014-2015. This past year, there were 29 reported cases of stalking, five reported cases of sexual assault, four reported cases of fondling, and two cases of aggravated assault. All were reported within campus limits.
It is estimated that roughly only six to nine people use IUPUI Safewalk within one night. There is no level of need in order to call either, so the number of on campus assaults should be diminishing.
Heather Plummer is a police officer for the IUPD. “Students shouldn't be afraid to call for a escort because the officers doing the escorts are their peers. We are all students just like you. No reason to be afraid.”
“If they feel unsafe, and want an escort, we will escort them anywhere on campus.” Briggs said. He continued to say that the escort service would not transport students to or from places off campus. “Anywhere within campus, we walk them from buildings to New York St., to Porte Alegre St., 10th St., West St., just within campus.”
Between the shuttle service offered during most hours on IUPUI’s campus, and the obvious notion to call 911 in a situation of severe danger, it is understandable that Safewalk isn’t heavy in student traffic. However, it is a great service to help prevent some of these crimes.
If students feel afraid, all they need to do to use the escort program is call 274-SAFE(7233). It is advised not to use the emergency call centers for the escort program, but some buildings have stationary phones if you do not have a cell phone.
“You basically just stay where you are until you are met and you will be escorted anywhere on the campus, for anything, if you’re scared, give us a call, 24/7.” Todd Hill, an IUPD officer said.
IUPUI Safewalk is available for those seeking extra safety at night, while on campus.