9.06.2009

SAFE Walkers Not so Safe!!

Intoxicated men send a SAFE Walk escort to the hospital.

Some have questioned if SAFE Walk is worth the cost in light of the recent assault.

Basically, if someone is afraid of assaulting anyone with companions who could report the incident, an assailant may certainly be deterred, but if someone has enough intent, will they even care if SAFE Walk is out, or if a person is in a group of friends?

Think about it. If there are a couple guys wandering about, do you think they will hesitate to assault a girl because they are with a bunch of girlfriends? By the same token, if a group of intoxicated average males, run into a street gang or a big thug, how much safety will there be in numbers?

When SAFE Walk escorts are en route to the client, they walk in groups of two (one guy and one girl). Couldn't your average college male and average college female be easily dominated by the average street thug?

SAFE Walk supervisor Troy Ruland claims that there has never been assaults before on SAFE Walkers.

I am surprised it hasn't happened before. Vulnerable college students wear clothes indicative of their position as SAFE Walk escorts. Assaults and muggings have definitely been an issue on campus last year and apparently the trend is continuing this year. Being college students, SAFE Walkers don't carry pepper spray, Tasers, or guns (though maybe they should and such would be completely legal), and it is likely that assailants don't realize that escorts carry walkie-talkies. A couple college students walking late at night sounds like the perfect target to me.

SAFE Walkers, regardless of what the university tells us, are just as vulnerable as any other student and are at best a mild deterrent and at worst a false sense of security in regards to preventing street crimes on campus.

If the University of Wisconsin really wants to prevent violence on the streets, maybe they should increase the size of the UW Police Department instead of paying students to think they are what stands between students and the possibility of becoming a victim when they are really human targets.