Increased lighting around campus would help students


Brionna McCall, University News Reporter/Writer

Alabama State University can improve its campus safety by placing more lights throughout the campus. Placing lights throughout the campus does not guarantee safety, but perpetrators tend to commit crimes in darker areas.
There are areas around campus where the lighting is poor, and it is concerning because of the vulnerability of college students as well as the crimes that have occurred on campus in the past years.
According to College Factual, in 2019, the university reported 40 incidents related to crime and safety that involved students on or near the campus, or other properties associated with the school. 45% of the incidents were arrests for possession of drugs, 52.5% were arrests for major crimes and 2.5% were acts of violence against women.
A Univstats survey states that a total of 80 criminal/disciplinary actions at the university were reported, and 76 criminal actions have happened on-campus. There were four robberies, three aggravated assaults, 13 burglaries and a negligent manslaughter.
It is very necessary to ensure safety during nighttime transitions between residence halls and other academic buildings as well as evening activities. Students may be required to walk from late-night classes or a social event, and they can fall victim to crime. Sometimes, students may have to park far from their residence halls because of limited parking spaces. The university’s faculty and staff may finish their shift late and have to walk to their cars during the night.
More lights are also needed around campus because of the lack of outside security cameras. Without security cameras, it is difficult to figure out what is going on outside the residence halls and parking lots. Having more lights outside is more necessary just because of that alone.
A 2017 Campus Illumination Survey says there is 28% of on-campus frequency after dark less than five days per week, and 50% after dark frequency three to five days per week. The survey also found that 25% of males in the college community reported feedback about campus lighting, and 75% of females in the college community reported feedback about campus lighting.
If the university can spend millions of dollars on new cafeteria renovations and new turf on the football field, then they can add more improvements, like campus lighting, to ensure its students’ and employees’ safety and comfort.
I am not saying the university is doing completely nothing about the lighting. There have been new lights put behind both Facility One and Two residence halls, which is a great start to having fewer dark areas around campus and hopefully, there are going to be more light additions in the future. The lights behind the Facility residence halls could also be a bit brighter, because they do not provide as much light as they need to.
From my experience, I am hesitant sometimes to go out on campus during late hours because of the lack of lighting. I may leave the SGA complex late and would have to walk to my residence hall, which is a good distance away. I would feel more safe and comfortable if the university did have more lights around campus, because I would definitely not be as paranoid, especially as a woman.
Though the university can do more for campus safety, students can also play a role in keeping the campus safe as well. Use the buddy system, because there is safety in numbers. If you are somewhere on campus and something does not feel right, trust your instincts and leave.
Be mindful of what you put online such as your whereabouts and class schedules, because someone may try to track your every move. Make sure that you know your surroundings wherever you are. If you are walking alone with earphones in, keep only one in your ear. If you are attending a party, avoid being isolated with someone you do not know or trust.
Most importantly, know where campus security is located and how to contact them. Campus police provide 24-hour security of the campus parking lots and residence halls. Students can find their contact information on the university’s website. The university has a 24-hour line for the campus police, a 24-hour crisis line, an online incident reporting form and much more.