The university’s walk/jog track now finally encircles campus. The new path, six feet wide and well lit, allows students to walk, bike and run the two miles around campus on one surface.
Campus has been waiting for the promised track for several years, and the anticipation has been building in the last few months, as the end date changed several times. Students should not hesitate to take advantage of the newly completed track, especially in the warm weather.
However, just because the track is new and well lit doesn’t mean students should ignore safe habits.
Women still should not walk or run alone after dark. The lit track is safer than portions of the dark old trail students used to follow, but women especially need to exercise caution. Although lights deter crime from happening, they do not completely prevent it. Women should always run or walk with a buddy after dark, and should be aware of their surroundings at all times.
Students sometimes find it easy to believe that crime does not occur on a Christian campus, but this is not the case. According to the university’s annual crime statistics report, four forcible sex offensives were reported on campus from 2001-2004. These stats do not include the neighborhoods surrounding campus.
Not all of the homes surrounding ACU house students. Registered sex offenders live in the area, some within one block of campus, and students should not assume all local residents should be trusted. Many vagrants reside in the area, and while we shouldn’t necessarily fear them, they do remind us that we do not live in our own secure and safe bubble.
Most people, especially college students, take an optimistic view of life. We think we are invincible, and that while bad things happen elsewhere, we personally will not become victims of a crime. This is a dangerous attitude to have. While we shouldn’t live our lives in fear, we need to be cautious and remember that anyone can become a victim.
Remember the basic safety habits: Don’t jog alone at night, be aware of your surroundings, always make sure someone knows where you are and carry a cell phone with you any time you might face a dangerous situation.
If you ever feel that you are in a compromising position, or feel unsafe, the ACU Police Department is here to serve you. Don’t hesitate to ask for help should you need it.
Enjoy the new walk/jog track but don’t let yourself become complacent about safety.
E-mail the Optimist at: email@example.com