Public safety tips come to fore after recent events

Courtesy of Richard Davis

On Sept. 22, Harsha Maddula, a sophomore at Northwestern University, went missing after leaving an off-campus party. Six days later, the 18-year-old boy’s body was found in Lake Michigan’s Wilmette Harbor. It is still not clear why or how Maddula’s life ended so tragically.

Casey Shamma, a junior at Northwestern, described the involvement of students, faculty and other community members who to find Maddula or his body in the first stage of mourning. The second mourning stage was filled with shock and denial. However, when asked how he felt about campus safety at his university now, Shamma stated that not much had changed.

“It is pretty clear that there was no foul play involved, so I feel just as safe as I did prior to the accident,” he said.

In light of the recent tragedy at Northwestern, NYU students can be aware of some programs implemented by Public Safety.

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At NYU, especially after the shootings outside Alumni residence hall on Third Avenue and East Ninth Street Sunday night, public safety has been at the forefront of discussion.

Stern sophomore Trisha Goyal said that, in a city like New York, transportation services for students after the sun sets is an important factor in ensuring campus safety for students. Goyal stated that financial resources could go to student safety transportation resources over university construction.

“I personally think Safe Ride is a really good resource, however at the same token, NYU Safety tends to be a little bit slow.”

She also thought the bus system is so unreliable.

“It doesn’t even follow the schedule half the time,” Goyal said.

As a response to this issue, Public Safety introduced the GPS application called TransLoc last year, which can be downloaded on the iPhone or Droid.

“You can see exactly on a Google maps where either the Safe Ride vans or the scheduled buses are,” said Jay Zwicker, assistant director for the Department of Public Safety at NYU. “And that’s a great service because you can manage your time better.”

Zwicker also suggests that in order for students to be safer, they should not use small electronic devices while walking in order to decrease their conspicuity as a potential target.

“There has been a 40 percent increase in crimes surrounding smartphones and tablets, so the use of them, whether in the subway or on the street, really needs to be judicious,” Zwicker said.

When texting or calling, he suggests leaning against a well lit building or waiting until you are inside to use a phone at night.

For other students like LSP sophomore Sofia Ferrandiz, many are unaware of the safety resources NYU has to offer. She commented that she had never heard of the Safe Ride program.

To increase awareness, NYU Public Safety holds Safety in the City information sessions at the beginning of the year. NYU Public Safety is also available for talks during the year. Zwicker has already been contacted by resident assistants in Lafayette to do a special session.

“Safety is everybody’s business,” Zwicker said. “We can provide a lot of good information and a lot of tips [and] techniques on how to not become a victim, but we need individuals to listen, to take this information and make good decisions.”

Visit: www.nyu.edu/life/safety-health-andwellness/public-safety for crime prevention tips and more information on the resources NYU Public Safety has to offer.

Call: (212) 992-8267 for Safe Ride, NYU’s on-demand shuttle service offered from midnight to 7 a.m.

NYU bus routes available at: www.nyu.edu/public.safety/transportation/routes.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Oct. 4 print edition. Pia Brar is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]

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1 COMMENT

  1. I’m sorry…but HOW can you be an NYU sophomore and not have heard of Safe Ride?? They don’t shut up about it during Welcome Week.

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