Sep 072004
Authors: Briana Selstad

Forcible sex offenses are the second most reported crime at CSU.

There were five forcible sex offenses reported at CSU from 2001 to 2003, with burglary being the only more reported crime on campus, according to CSU statistics.

“Crimes such as burglary occur during both the day and night. However, if we are talking about crimes of physical and sexual assault, they probably occur more at night,” said Cpl. Veronica Olivas of CSU Police Department.

Dane Wiederspahn, a junior business major, said he often sees students walking around alone at night.

“I see both males and females walking around alone after dark. It doesn’t seem that safe, but I’ve had to do it before too when my classes get out late in the winter. Sometimes you just can’t avoid it,” he said.

Olivas said CSU has a relatively safe campus. However, it is necessary for students to familiarize themselves with the resources available to them, she said.

RamRide, provided by the Associated Students of CSU, is a service offering rides home in Fort Collins on Friday and Saturday nights. The service can be reached at 491-3333.

Sarah Ryan, a junior biology major and ASCSU senator for the College of Natural Sciences, said RamRide is an important program at CSU.

“(RamRide) requires some serious dedication from volunteers to be picking people up from the other side of town at 3 a.m. but we are glad to do it,” she said.

Olivas said RamRide is a valuable service.

“The great thing about RamRide is that as long as there is one CSU student, they will take you. Not everyone in the group has to be a CSU student,” Olivas said.

Safe Walk is another safety resource available to students. Offered by CSUPD, Safe Walk offers an escort to walk with on and near campus. All Safe Walk volunteers have had background checks. The program caters both to faculty and students, Olivas said.

Safe Walk is available every evening by calling 491-1155 or by picking up an outdoor emergency/service phone on campus. Their service area extends from Mulberry Street to Prospect Road and from Constitution Avenue to Mathews Street.

Besides Safe Walk and RamRide, there are many ways students can reduce their risk of encountering a physical or sexual assault.

“You can minimize the opportunity for someone to victimize you. You should be aware of your surroundings and potential opportunities for someone to take advantage of you,” Olivas said.

Olivas emphasized safety in numbers and using the buddy system.

“If you’re going somewhere, tell somebody that you’re leaving. That way if you’re not back by the time you said you would be, they know to go look for you,” she said.

Olivas said cell phones are a great resource that most students have. Students can use their cell phones anywhere to get police assistance.

She added that it is important for students to be able to describe where they are so the correct district will be notified.

Pertaining to sexual assault, Olivas emphasized the importance of reporting a crime.

“Some people don’t want to report a crime. But we want to be able to help you, and we want to know if we have a repeat criminal,” she said.

Sexual assaults are especially important to report because the victim is a “walking crime scene,” Olivas said. “They may not be (the offender’s) first victim and they may not be their last. You may be helping someone else when you report a crime.”

Safety tips

-Walk in a group or with a friend if possible

-Carry a cell phone with you at all times

-Have Safewalk, Ramride, and the CSUPD numbers programmed into your phone

-Make sure someone knows where you are going and when you will be home if going out after dark

-Survey the area where you will be walking at night to make sure walkways are lit and know where the emergency phones are located

-Stay alert to your surroundings. If you suspect someone is following you, call 911 immediately

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