Call boxes, app can help campus stay safe
By: Jadie Hargrove
Tarleton used to have call boxes all around the campus. These allowed students to have a direct line of communication to a police officer if they were to get in trouble or needed help. The call boxes were taken down because they were seldom used and in need of updating, Allcon said.
Another disadvantage to call boxes is that they are so expensive to put up. An article in the Orange County Register found the annual cost for call box upkeep is around $320,000 and the monthly phone bill runs around $480.
Tarleton Assistant Chief Alvin Allcon said he thinks the call boxes should be installed again.
“Cell phone technology scares me,” he said. “ I would love to see them put back up. I understand that it’s a huge expense, and there’s a lot of things that must happen. What scares me here is that we rely so much — and not just here, but in general as a society — on cell phone technology. When to me it is so unreliable.”
According to Allcon, the crimes that happen around campus aren’t usually premeditated.
“A lot of crimes that occur isn’t something that’s planned out. It’s a crime of convenience or opportunity,” Allcon said.
Another safety issue is vacant parking lots. Walking through parking lots alone at night can be a very daunting task for some, especially for females.
Allcon said the police department is always willing to help.
“One of the things that we ask the police to do here is to be out and be visible and try to be readily available to the community,” he said. “We have some officers that individually do different things. We have one who is currently on day shift, and you will see him quite frequently sitting in his car in areas with really high traffic. He can readily be available to get to different parts of campus.
“Others just patrol constantly,” Allcon added. “some will just get out and walk buildings from time to time. We try to encourage them to be active within the community.”
Allcon said one of the biggest ways to stay is to be aware of one’s environment and what is happening.
“The biggest thing is awareness of individuals,” he explained. “Not to be an alarmist where you’re too scared to do anything, but aware of what’s transpiring. Ultimately, I think it’s safe to walk through parking lots to campus. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be cautious about doing that, and just be aware of what’s going on. Particularly if you feel vulnerable for whatever reason, no matter what your gender is, you should either try to go in a group or try to arrange for an escort, or something like that.”
One way to can access help is to download the Tarleton app. This app has a feature that students can use to call the police department in case of an emergency.
Allcon said he believes Tarleton is a “very safe community.” It is up to the students to use their best judgment and the resources that they have at their disposal.
Allcon added that in the end, the job of campus safety depends on the police department, the university and students working hand-in-hand.