Program keeps students safe

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Aug 222002
 
Authors: Adrienne Hoenig

Walking around alone at night can be lonely and dangerous. Stephan Gurian is willing to ameliorate those fears as he looks for company on his night shift.

Gurian works for Campus Safe Walk, a program that pairs a staff escort with students who need to get home on and around campus. He said that this resource, which is paid for by student fees, is very underused.

The Safe Walk Program has been provided by CSU since January 1993.

Safe Walk employees are students at CSU that undergo an extensive training program. They also are subject to a background check similar to the kind police officers undergo.

Gurian, a junior majoring in computer information systems, has been a Safe Walk escort for about two years.

“Basically, we just walk around campus until someone calls,” Gurian said.

Safe Walk escorts patrol the residence halls, the Plaza, and other high-traffic areas, acting as “visual deterrents” to crimes and mischief.

Gurian got involved with Safe Walk through a friend. Escorts work three-hour shifts over the evening and which shifts they work vary over time.

“I always have afternoon classes. I’m not a morning person anyway,” Gurian said.

Safe Walk escorts can be dispatched either by calling 491-1155 or by picking up any of the call box phones around campus. Once dispatched, Safe Walkers usually arrive within about 10-15 minutes to escort callers to their destinations.

“I’m not sure if I’ll be walking around a lot at night, but if I am it’s a good thing to have,” said Alanna Kirby, a freshman majoring in equine science.

David Hurley, corporal for the CSU Police Department, said Safe Walk has several consistent users as well as people whom only call once or twice.

“It’s still a service people are surprised we have,” Hurley said.

Safe Walk is run by the CSUPD. Gurian said working with the police department is his favorite part of the job.

They will walk as far north as West Mulberry Street, as fat east as Matthews Street, as far south as West Prospect Road, and as far west as Constitution Avenue. Operating hours have previously been from 6 p.m. until 1 a.m., but times are not yet established for this semester.

Gurian said there isn’t a “normal” night on the job, as the volume of calls varies based on the overall feeling of safety on campus.

For instance, Safe Walk received about 30 calls a night in the beginning of the fall 2001 semester, after a rash of sexual assaults throughout Fort Collins over the summer. Toward the end of that semester, when publicity had begun to die down, Safe Walk often received no calls at all.

“We don’t bite,” Gurian said. “Student fees pay for this service. Use it.”

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