Mike Shekari/Staff Reporter
During the early morning on November 2nd, an Embry-Riddle student was confronted by a stranger demanding money on campus near the Apollo Hall dorms. In the wake of the recent incident on campus, the Embry-Riddle community must face a harsh security reality. The university is contained within a very open facility that is readily accessible to outsiders and those who may wish to do the campus community harm. Fortunately, the student was not severely harmed by the subject, who was described as a white male wearing dark or black clothing in the Eagle Alert sent out by the university’s Safety and Security Department. However, it is also important to note that the alert stated that “the victim did not ‘see’ a weapon,” which means the subject could have been armed without the victim’s knowledge. The next time a similar incident occurs, the victim may not be so fortunate.
Trouble of the criminal variety, except for bicycle thefts that happen on a semi-regular basis, rarely comes to campus. This is evidenced by the relatively low instances of crime reported in the university’s 2016 Clery Act crime statistics, which is not to say that severe crimes like assault, rape, stalking, and burglary do not happen at the university.
They have all happened at least once on campus within the last three years according to the Clery Act statistics. These kinds of crimes do not occur frequently at Embry-Riddle. However, crimes happening on campus infrequently should not permit individuals in the Embry-Riddle community to take a weak security posture.
Incidents like what happened last week and crimes mentioned in the Clery Act statistics will happen again; it is merely a question of when. Still, there are things community members can do to reduce the chances of themselves or one of their fellow eagles from being victimized by criminals.
The Campus Safety and Security Department encourages people to travel in groups, especially at night, which should help discourage lone perpetrators from approaching. If traveling in a group is not an option, the Safety and Security Department offers safety escorts between campus locations 24/7, by calling (386) 226-6480.
Also, live by the saying of “If you see something, say something.” Often warning signs of a security threat can be seen by the average person before it becomes a security incident. Many of these conditions go unreported because of personal mentalities such as “I do not want to look paranoid” or “that would never happen here.” It is always better to report something you think is suspicious, have it investigated, and be wrong than it is to let the warning signs of a threat go unnoticed.
Increasing general situational awareness can also reduce an individual’s chances of victimization, which means paying attention to surroundings regardless of how familiar an individual is with the area. However, it is important not to look for specific warning signs, which can cause tunnel vision and decrease situational awareness. Rather look for signs of persons or things that are “out of place,” a technique that allows individuals to take in more information about their surroundings and detect most threats.
Unfortunately, crime is a reality of the world that we live in. It is always a question of when something will occur rather than if. However, if we take steps to improve our security posture, we can reduce our likelihood of falling victim to a crime. The tips contained within this article are a good start, but there is still plenty more that can be done on the individual level with further
education and practice.