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College asks for off-campus safety

| Wednesday, September 9, 2009

As the school year kicks off and South Bend is again filled with students leaving campus to pursue off-campus activities, Saint Mary’s College Security is once again urging students to exercise caution while away from campus.

Stan Himczak, assistant director of security, said student life is very safe at Saint Mary’s College. It is when students leave campus, he said, that they are at risk.

The security department always encourages students to be aware of what is going on around them, however, the need for alertness increases immensely when they choose to leave Saint Mary’s, he said.

Himczak emphasized the need for students to be aware of their surroundings at all times and encouraged students to be wary of new people they meet while in town. He also said new students should be especially careful because they are not familiar with South Bend.

“We help to promote student awareness by providing safety programs, with information provided on our Web site and through safety alert and notifications.” Saint Mary’s director of security David Gariepy said.

Saint Mary’s offers a variety of resources to those students who may be put in danger while off campus.

Besides the transportation offered by the trolley, which stops running at 11 p.m. during the week and 2:30 a.m. on the weekend, and the late night van, “Blinkie,” which runs for two hours after the trolley ends, students that need help can call the College’s security at any time and be picked up by a security officer.

Himczak said that if security is unable to come, they will help arrange other transportation.

“We want to help you the best we can, with the resources we have,” Himczak said.

While on campus, however, Saint Mary’s students can feel safe. According to the annual crime report published by security, the College has enjoyed increasingly lower crime rates over the past three years. Of the crimes that are committed on campus, most are not threatening to the students. Most crimes, Himczak said, are petty.

“Larceny and alcohol related incidents have been our largest reported incident problems.” Gariepy said.

Although crime rate is not high at Saint Mary’s, students should not dismiss suspicious activity because SMC crime can be kept low with the help of students.

Ultimately, whether on campus or off, the entire community can benefit from students being more conscious. Students are also urged to report any unusual incidents to security, Gariepy and Himczak said.

“We encourage students to become involved in helping to maintain a safe campus by reporting any and all suspicious activity or criminal activity.” said Gariepy.

Students who need assistance or suspect any unusual activity are encouraged to call 574-284-5000.