Even with campus police and safety protocols in place, many University students on campus still find themselves speed-walking to their dorm at night or calling a friend if they believe they are being followed.
According to Media Relations Director Ernie Ballard, the safety of all students is of the utmost importance to the University.
“LSU Police officers are on campus 24 hours a day and seven days a week working to protect students, faculty, staff and visitors, but safety is a shared responsibility,” Ballard said. “We encourage people to walk with a group or with a buddy, especially at night. Always be alert and aware of your surroundings.”
Ballard also mentioned that students should utilize the LSU SHIELD app, which has a safety check function where users can enter a time duration for an activity such as walking the lakes. If the Safety Check countdown ends and the person hasn’t deactivated it, a text will be sent to emergency contacts. User can also text directly to LSU Police to report anything via the app.
Sociology freshman Blakeley Beers said she has never felt unsafe while on campus, but still takes measures to ensure her safety.
“I’ve never really felt unsafe on campus, but I would rather be safe than sorry. I always try to have a friend walk with me if I am walking in the dark on campus, or if it is 5 a.m. when I have to go to work, I will call LSUPD to take me to my car,” Beers said. “The police officer who has picked me up a few times said that he is happy that I am comfortable calling LSUPD, and that you never think something bad is going to happen until it does.”
According to the Director of Wellness and Health Promotion Rebecca Fontenot, the Office of Wellness and Health Promotion collaborates with the LSU Police Department to offer Rape Aggression Defense Classes for female students.
The classes are better known as RAD Classes, a 12-hour personal safety course for women. The course includes lecture, discussion and self-defense techniques suitable for women of all ages and abilities.
“Our health educators can come speak to classes or student groups about personal safety on campus and risk reduction strategies,” Fontenot said.
According to the October 2019 LSU Police Crime Log, theft and vehicle collisions are among the most prevalent crimes that occur on campus. Last month, there were at least 23 hit-and-runs, 55 traffic crashes and 35 thefts, according to the crime log.
Members of the LSU community are also at risk of having their vehicle broken into or their bicycle stolen. However, while many students may assume these crimes mostly occur at night, many thefts occurred in daylight hours, according to the crime log.
There were also 16 reported drug law violations on the University’s campus this month. This offense could include possession, production or distribution of illicit drugs.
There were only five reported stalking incidents and sex offenses last month, according to the October Crime Log.
The University is also committed to ending sexual violence and creating and maintaining a community of respect. The Student Health Center houses the Lighthouse Program, which provides interpersonal violence prevention, advocacy and support to the LSU campus community.
“The program assists student survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, relationship violence and stalking,” Fontenot said.
The center also offers Tiger BITes (Bystander Intervention Training) that involves developing the awareness, skills and courage needed to intervene in a situation when another individual needs help.
“Intervening has the ability to impact and reduce many high-risk activities in the community such as sexual violence, high-risk drinking and hazing,” Fontenot said. “Through the interactive training sessions, students will learn, develop and build these skills so they can teach other LSU students to do the same and create a safer community for all.”
Students can report suspicious behavior anonymously through the SHIELD app and can also call LSU Police at 225-578-3231. If it’s an emergency, students should dial 911.
Click here to learn more about the LSU SHIELD app.