More lighting, emergency call boxes needed to prevent crime


Editorial Board

Issue: Chris L. Jones, an Omaha native and current Brookings resident, was recently arrested in connection to the rapes and crimes occurring on and off campus. Jones is charged with one count of felony kidnapping, five counts of second-degree rape, two counts of second-degree robbery and one count of attempted robbery. Students and faculty alike can use this horrible experience as a learning experience.

In a small town like Brookings, it’s easy to feel safe; however, over the last month, SDSU and Brookings lost that feeling when two robberies, a kidnapping and three rapes occurred in three incidents allegedly carried out by the same individual.

While we understand the university is not used to dealing with severe crimes like serial rape, the handling of the situation should have been done differently.

Students should have been notified that a sexual assault-a rape-occurred on the campus soon after the first incident. Instead, students were notified (insufficiently, with administrators choosing not to use the Campus Alert System in favor of an unreliable e-mail) only after a second rape had occurred. This was nearly 10 days after the first rape, with many returning from Easter break, walking from the parking lots to dorms, often late at night, unbeknownst to a very real danger that existed. Had administrators notified students promptly after the first rape, perhaps the second one could have been prevented.

Officials said they did not inform students after the first rape because they had a suspect; however, regardless of whether or not SDUPD had a suspect, students still should be informed because suspicions are not always correct, as SDUPD and administrators found out. If a situation like this were to happen again, we hope SDSU would inform students in a timely manner so we can take proper precautions to protect ourselves, our friends and our loved ones. By not doing so, they are putting secrecy above our security.

SDSU should also take precautions to assure something like this can be prevented as much as humanly possible. With the campus beautification being planned, there is no better time than now to look into where lighting is insufficient, and then to install more, especially at the library, where one of the rapes occurred. Providing adequate lighting helps assure something like this does not happen again.

The university should also improve the number and dispersion of the emergency call boxes. The lots across from Young, Binnewies and Caldwell are large lots, yet there are no call boxes in the lots themselves; the nearest call boxes to both lots are near the halls, across the street. This is not good enough. There Proxy-Connection: keep-aliveCache-Control: max-age=0

ould be at least two emergency call boxes in lots that size, and they should be placed at central locations within the lots so they are readily accessible, no matter where someone is located. More education on when to use the call boxes and what exactly happens when the call boxes are used is also something SDSU should implement so students are more comfortable using them.

Students should also learn from these crimes, and it appears they did. Something that made us very proud was the way students banded together in order to make sure everyone was safe. A great example of this is the SDSU Safe Walk Brigade, a completely student-organized group started on Facebook, with male students leaving their phone numbers and offering to walk female students wherever they need. Such civic action and genuine concern for fellow students deserves the highest of praise, and we commend everyone involved.

It’s important to keep in mind that while students and community members may feel relieved since an arrest has been made, now is not the time to throw safety precautions into the wind. Safe practices like walking in pairs and being aware of one’s surroundings should still be used. We’ve had a wake-up call; let’s not fall back asleep.

Stance: SDSU initially mishandled the situation. We hope the administration can learn from this and inform students when they are in danger. Along with this, SDSU should take the proper measures to prevent such crimes from occurring again, and students should not drop safe practices.