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Safe Walk Suffering from Lack of Use

By Sean C. Tytler

The student-run security escort service Safe Walk is suffering from a lack of use, according to James O. Dobbins '96, Safe Walk assistant manager. "Without students taking advantage of the service, we may lose our value and then our funding," Dobbins said. "Safe Walk contributes too much to campus security to let it die."

Safe Walk was started last February by Kenneth M. Porter '96 and Susan L. Ipri G in reaction to the recent upsurge in crimes on campus, Porter said in an interview last spring.

The service is entirely student-run, Dobbins said. Two patrol teams walk at all times covering the east and west sides of campus, he said. Escorts are provided from 8 p.m. until 3 a.m. every day, he said.

The Campus Police provides training, radios for each team and for the central dispatcher located on the first floor of the Student Center, and backup in the event of an emergency, Dobbins said. Response time for the police is usually around 3 minutes, he said.

We're here for you to bother'

"Right now we serve more as a presence than anything else," said Safe Walk worker Ruben Miranda '98. "We don't have too many walks to make, so we spend most of the time patrolling the campus and looking for any suspicious activity," Miranda said.

"Most people still don't know that we're here," Miranda said. "Each night I get at least a handful of people walking up to me asking for information."

Many students don't call Safe Walk for assistance because they don't want to bother the workers, Dobbins said. "Well, we're here for you to bother," he said.

"The majority of people we escort home are those already heading to their dorms who see us walking around," said Abraham A. Maritime '96. "They ask us on the spot for an escort," he said. "No one wants to bother us otherwise."

One possible explanation for the low use of Safe Walk is the popularity of the Safe Ride vans, Miranda said. "People think of Safe Ride and forget about Safe Walk," he said. "But Safe Walk has its advantages, especially to those people who want to walk from one end of campus to the other."

With a newly trained force of about 25 people, Safe Walk can perform effectively, Miranda said. "Walking from Sloan [School] to Next House or Tang [Hall] is a hike at any time, let alone at 1 o'clock in the morning, when personal safety does become a factor," he said.

"At the very least we offer you some company," said patroller Aseem O. Agarwala '98.

"Don't hesitate to call," Miranda said. "That's what we're here for." Safe Walk can be reached at extension 2-1300, or 252-1300 from an off-campus phone.