By Gyeryeong Kim
According to the Students for Concealed Carry group, despite lower numbers of recorded incidents, thousands of crimes still take place on college campuses all over the U.S. daily.
On Oct. 8, the SkillsShop “What to Do If the Unthinkable Happens: Common-Sense Defense Tips” was held in Room S220.
Vikki Ethington, Brookhaven College police officer, said: “Brookhaven College is one of the safest colleges in the Dallas area. The police department serves 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including all holidays and weekends. Officers’ duties include patrolling the parking lots, inside the buildings all adjacent grass areas and property.”
Maribel Pena Lyons, professional counselor at BHC and instructor of the SkillsShop, said about campus safety, “We have police on campus. But just like anywhere else, you never know.” She said she emphasizes caution and planning for the unthinkable before a potentially threatening event happens.
Ethington said, “The leading crimes on most all college campuses are theft and burglaries. This is in large part due to unattended property, where the owner steps away for ‘just a second,’ thus giving the criminal access to their property.” The Counseling Center at Brookhaven also gave tips to prevent property crimes in a handout. The handout said that marking personal property, such as personal computers, laptops, audio and video equipment, with property tags and locks would help to identify stolen goods.
On campus, the police officers watch over people, always ready to help them as soon as possible. However, off campus, there is a possibility of people being in a dangerous situation when they are alone. Julie Sanchez, a Brookhaven student majoring in nursing, said: “I don’t walk by myself alone. I walk with somebody else when it’s late at night. I pay attention.” She said she doesn’t know how to protect herself except by paying attention to her surroundings.
The SkillsShop addressed unthinkable situations, such as rape attacks, abduction and gunshots.
According to the Common Sense Defense Tips from the Counseling Center at Brookhaven, in 45 percent of sexual assaults, the attacker does not have a weapon.
The CSDT gave tips such as always trying to keep something, anything, between you and your attacker. When getting away from an attacker, run in a zig-zag pattern, yell as loud as you can and make noise. In addition, the handout mentions, in the case of being forced into the trunk of a car, pop the trunk latch or knock taillights out. Do anything to draw attention to yourself. Keep a crowbar or bat and flashlight in the trunk of your car.
The most important thing to remember is “SKY”: Scream, Kick and Yell. When people are screaming or yelling for help, instead of just “help,” they should yell “fire.” Lyons said, “Because help is more commonly used, maybe nowadays people don’t pay much attention if someone says ‘help.’” If someone says “fire,” it grabs more people’s attention.
Ethington offered some advice to students. She said: “If you see or hear something suspicious, say something. The earlier an offense or incident is reported to the police, the better chances we have of apprehension of the criminal(s).”
Through the SkillsShops, Sanchez learned how to protect herself better than before. She said: “Now, I know what to do whenever something like this happens. Now, I know if I have a pen, I can break it, then use it for a weapon.”