As promised, campus authorities last week activated new emergency call stations in the arboretum and along the West Village bike path across Highway 113.
The call stations are cylindrical, painted blue, with blue lights near the top and cameras at the very top.
“These new emergency call boxes will help us improve safety by delivering immediate access to dispatch and live-stream video footage to record what’s happening in the area,” said Brian Buckley, security director with the Police Department.
The call buttons are working, and the cameras should be working by the end of the week. At each station, the camera will switch on the instant someone presses the call button.
The campus has installed eight call stations so far, doing the work on an accelerated schedule in response to a demand from the #blackunderattack movement. It had reacted after an African American student reported that she had been assaulted in the early morning hours of Feb. 15 as she walked near her residence in West Village. Police arrested two men on hate crime charges.
Police Chief Matt Carmichael acknowledged that most people carry cell phones, but added that they are not always reliable or easy to access in an emergency. Providing direct contact with campus safety officers plus video surveillance of the area helps ensure incidents receive the most efficient and direct response.
“Call boxes not only address the perception of safety, they send a very clear message and often act as a deterrent to those who seek to commit crimes,” Carmichael said.
The campus also is taking steps to fix and improve lighting. That effort included a March 9 safety walk during which students and staff pointed out inoperative lights and areas that needed more light.
All members of the campus community are encouraged to immediately report lighting problems. Call the Facilities Management Customer Support Center, 530-752-1655.