Students reflect on their safety in off-campus housing

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Students reflect on their safety in off-campus housing

Safe Ride vehicles. Safe Ride is one of the programs offered by Northwestern to increase safety, but students still take their own precautions.

Safe Ride vehicles. Safe Ride is one of the programs offered by Northwestern to increase safety, but students still take their own precautions.

File photo by Sherry LI

Safe Ride vehicles. Safe Ride is one of the programs offered by Northwestern to increase safety, but students still take their own precautions.

File photo by Sherry LI

File photo by Sherry LI

Safe Ride vehicles. Safe Ride is one of the programs offered by Northwestern to increase safety, but students still take their own precautions.

Jane Wiertel, Reporter

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It’s midnight on a Tuesday, and Weinberg senior Morgan Buckley is walking to her off-campus home after an a cappella rehearsal. As she crosses Sheridan Road — where there’s not a single car in sight — she said she’s wary of her surroundings. Buckley takes a turn onto Foster Street to her apartment on Sherman Avenue, making sure to walk down a street that is well-lit.

Staying safe on college campuses is a concern for many other students, too. Northwestern offers programs such as Safe Ride, which provides late night rides to students on campus, and Blue Light Telephones, which allow students to dial emergency personnel with just the push of a button. Students, however, also take their own precautions.

Communication junior Sophia Civetta said she feels mostly safe while walking the 12 minutes from campus to her apartment — however, she said it is still important to her to take steps in order to be secure.

One of the tools Civetta uses is an app called Noonlight. When walking home, Civetta holds down a button on the app and the minute she lets go, the police are notified and sent to her location. While she hasn’t felt the need to use the app recently, Civetta said she still likes to have it on her phone, just in case she would ever need it.

“I used it once when the snatchers were around (last year), but then I haven’t really used it since,” Civetta said, referencing the fall 2018 incidents when men would target women and grab their backpacks or arms and follow them down the street. “I like keeping it on my phone and having it.”

In addition to Noonlight, other female students organized a GroupMe chat where they would send messages of their locations and ask if people wanted to walk home together, Civetta said. The group chat hasn’t been active since last year, but she added it was a great resource and made female students feel safe while walking back from campus.

While walking off-campus at night is a primary concern for some, other students like Communication senior Evan Nixon are more concerned about the safety of their apartments. After his apartment building had five robberies over the summer, two of which happened to people he knows, Nixon said he has been nervous about his own safety.

“Because of that, we’re maybe a little more cognizant of just making sure everything’s locked down and stuff like that,” Nixon said. “We’re most worried about someone who’s trying to steal things.”

Buckley said out-of-town friends have complimented Northwestern’s safety. When her friend from the University of Wisconsin-Madison visits, she said that she feels satisfied with the amount of Blue Light Telephones present on campus.

Like Buckley’s friend, several other students find Evanston a largely safe place to live.

“I would say it’s not as connected to being in Evanston specifically,” Buckley said. “It’s just connected to being a woman at night anywhere, which is really sad, but I mean I’d rather be hypervigilant than sorry.”

Email: janewiertel2022@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @janew228

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