Saint Louis has been named the most dangerous city in America by CQ Press. The study’s 2010 data is based on population and crime statistics compiled by the FBI. Saint Louis University, nestled in the heart of Saint Louis, is not exempt from the city’s dangers. SLU Ride is one service offered to students to keep them safe.
SLU takes many precautions in order to keep its students safe and prides itself on being one of the safest urban campuses in the nation. SLU Ride was created to ensure that students would not have to walk at night unprotected. It provides rides to students to and from campus and several nearby locations, including the Grand Boulevard Metro Link. Even with this service in place, recent muggings of students have occurred on and near campus. This leaves some students wondering if the university should be doing more do protect them.
Michelle Missak, a sophomore, is one of these students. She works at Kota Wood Fire Grill, a restaurant near campus. Although it is only a few blocks from away, she is not able to get SLU Ride to pick her up. She was told service was not available to her. Missak walks back to her dorm from work, many times alone after dark.
“Even though it is only a couple of blocks away, I still get a little bit nervous walking alone because, you know, things happen,” Missak said. “I wish SLU Ride could pick me up and drop me off just because I would feel a lot more comfortable.”
SLU Ride cannot offer service to many places off campus, but defends its service. Chelsea Byler, a SLU Ride official, said the program was created to “alleviate on-campus safety issues.” She stresse that students need to realize they make a choice to travel off campus, whether it is for a job or any other reason. When students leave campus, the university cannot be responsible for them. If students decide to walk unescorted, students should practice certain habits to keep themselves safe.
“First and foremost, travel with companions. Be alert to your surroundings,” said Roland J. Corvington, irector of the Department of Public Safety “I often see many students looking down at their cell phones or texting while they’re walking or listening to their iPod, which is all fine, but the problem is when you do that and are oblivious to what’s going on around you.”
SLU also offers additional services to keep its students safe. The university has invested more than $40 million in improvements to enhance campus security. A new communication system has been put into place to keep students, faculty and staff aware of emergencies and safety alerts. More than 100 public safety officers patrol the campus 24/7. Emergency call boxes are also located around campus, including in the parking garages.
With all of these services in place, crime on Saint Louis University’s campus continues. Recent reports of robberies of on-campus apartments and students being mugged leave many students questioning the safety of their campus and feel that more can be done.
While SLU Ride has no current plans to extend its routes, students may still want to take advantage of SLU Ride when it is available. Students should call 977-RIDE for a safe way to get around campus after dark. During the school year, SLU Ride provides service from 6 pm to midnight Sunday through Wednesday. Service extends to 3 in the morning Thursday through Saturday. A golf cart, van or walking escort will be provided based on destination and availability. Students should contact DPS at 977-3000 if an escort is needed at night after SLU Ride has closed.