Blue Lights Aim to Improve Campus Safety


Diamond Naga Siu

Public Safety is updating its old blue light locations to make them more visible.

Faith Gates, Staff Writer

NYU is making the campus more lit — the university is updating its emergency call boxes, also called blue light locations, by making them more visible.

NYU currently has nine working locations around its Manhattan campus, with five more installations in progress. The updated, violet-purple boxes have been nicknamed the blue light system because, once activated, a blue light flashes at the top of the box. These boxes give students a way to contact Department of Public Safety to report immediate threats, unsafe conditions or other urgent matters on campus.

The boxes are activated by pressing one button, which puts the caller in immediate contact with the Public Safety command center, no matter the time of day. While Public Safety can be reached at 212.998.2222, these boxes are helpful during instances when calling might not be the quickest option or if a cell phone is not readily available.

Marlon Lynch, vice president of Global Campus Safety said the call boxes were redesigned for Public Safety to more easily detect whoever hit the blue light.

“The emergency call box program has existed at NYU for many years,” Lynch said. “This project to refresh and upgrade the emergency call boxes replaces less visible, aging units and provides a new and more visible housing for the boxes, increased call quality and better reliability.”

Carlos Garcia, senior director of Site Strategies said that while the representative is talking to the caller through its two-way communication feature, an officer will be dispatched to the location immediately.

“The blue light on top of the box will flash, indicating an emergent situation to those in the immediate area,” Garcia said. “Public Safety tests the boxes every day to confirm consistent operation of all locations and identifies any repairs or adjustments that may be needed.”

He said the new boxes are fully operational, but since the installation of new boxes, nobody has used them yet. NYU crime statistics have not been updated since Oct. 18.

Steinhardt sophomore Emily Chambers found an absence of these boxes at NYU alarming when she first came to campus, so these improvements are good news to her. She said that many other schools throughout the United States boasted their blue light safety feature when she toured them.

“I found that odd because these schools were not in places that you would consider dangerous, but NYU is in the middle of Manhattan, where you would think you’d need more security,” Chambers said. “I’m thrilled they’re working on them — I feel safer. It’s easier to push a button than go into a building and find a security guard.”

Although New York City is the safest of the top nine largest cities in the United States, these upgrades also improve the mental and physical well being of students.

Email Faith Gates at [email protected].