Why did Baylor PD discontinue their ride service?
I have asked myself this question every time I’ve walked alone on campus late at night. Even with my pepper spray and sharp keys, I still find myself continually looking over my shoulder. I think, if something bad happens right at this second, there is no one nearby to hear my call for help.
When touring Baylor for the very first time, the tour guides proudly told my parents that the Baylor Police Department offers rides to those who may be in a potentially risky situation, whether it be walking home from the library late at night, or returning from a front desk night shift. As I am the oldest child and the first to leave the nest, my overprotective parents ate that right up. Coming here, I felt safe and had a backup plan, as I did not originally have a car on campus.
The Baylor Police Department announced at the beginning of this year that they are discontinuing the complimentary ride service due to students abusing it and using it as a way of getting around. Apparently, multitudes of non-emergent calls come in every night and it lengthens response times. This is understandable, but if one student uses it for a true emergency, isn’t that worth it?
As I tend to avoid walking alone on campus at night, I spoke with my roommate, M, about her experiences. M works a night shift at one of the libraries on campus and must walk back to our dorm after midnight.
What has been your experience walking home after your shift?
M: “Sometimes there’s a police car, and sometimes not. I know I have to be prepared whether alone or surrounded by people and always have my keys between my knuckles and a whistle closeby.”
What would make you feel safer?
M: “For me personally, I would like there to be an option to talk to a security officers for directions, if someone is following me or if I am uncomfortable. I could stay on the line with them and get instructions on what to do next.”
Overall, would still having the ride service make you feel safer on campus?
M: “I would definitely feel safer just knowing that it’s there if I need it. There is no emergency blue light button on the route back home, so I cannot rely on those in this case.”
As we have been told time and time again, sexual violence is rampant on college campuses. One in four women in college are victims of sexual assault. The question is how do we make campus a safe place for people to walk at night without the fear of being assaulted.
Now with the removal of the ride service, we need to come up with a solution that allows EVERYONE to feel safe on campus. We shouldn’t sacrifice our safety because a ride service is overused.