Residential Safety Patrol (RSP) provides many students on campus with employment. However, considering its operations were created back in 1974, how effective and efficient can they be? A majority of the program’s training consists of memorizing numerical codes and regurgitating archaic safety protocol methods. RSP should update their training manual and techniques to keep up with the current times and current safety issues. What particularly concerns me is that, with such a large number of students working for the organization at such late hours, the organization does not take better measures to ensure their safety post-shift.
After speaking with the Director of RSP Emmanuel Gyamfi I learned that desk monitors are relieved at approximately 2:45 a.m., while the Walk Service ends at 3 a.m. While it is ideal for a desk monitor to work in the building in which they reside, this is not always the case, and as a result, they must walk alone. I do not believe that 15 minutes is an adequate amount of time to say the walk service would be a viable option for employees to utilize. Gyamfi mentioned the option of the SBU Guardian app, essentially a timer that alerts University Police if it is not deactivated upon arrival at a desired destination. But say you by accident forget to deactivate the timer; it is connected directly to UPD. Many students already have a lot on their minds after classes, let alone the added pressure of remembering to shut off a timer linked up to law enforcement.
These safety recommendations are not just for RSP staff after late night shifts; these are campus-wide suggestions. Additional campus safety recommendations from RSP include walking with a buddy and walking on the best lit path. However, not everyone has a buddy parked in the same parking lot, or with the same appetite for late night snacks, so solo journeys around campus are inevitable.
RSP and the university can offer endless simple safety tips, but unless they really look at actual threats on campus, in conjunction with current safety concerns, they will not be as efficient as they could be, primarily regarding potentially dangerous crime. One of the actual threats on campus is incidents of sexual violence. Another actual threat is lack of security in commuter areas, such as South P and the LIRR, especially in comparison to the caliber of security in and around residence halls. Residential safety should not take priority over commuter safety, the same way larcenous crimes should not take priority over those of a sexual nature.
The Residential Risk Management department, the overhead department of RSP, should extend its jurisdiction and responsibility to include commuters and commuter zones, as well as improve its response and protocol for incidents of domestic and/or sexual violence. This is too large and too dark of a campus to only have safety patrol in the lowest traffic areas.
Maria Doyle, a senior psychology major and commuter, said, “I don’t quite understand the role of campus safety patrol. I never see campus security, ever. Do they actually exist? The only safety concern I say I have ever had is that there ought to be some kind of campus security patrolling in the evening. When I have classes or finals when it is dark outside, I sometimes feel unsafe in the parking lots.” Gyamfi and RSP do suggest commuters utilize the walk service if they are uncomfortable at night in the parking lots. Yet for most students, the walk service is either not enough or not convenient.
Geoffrey Churchill, a sophomore CSE major and resident, says, “Two close friends of mine work [for RSP]. They should keep maintaining the blue light phones, of course, and making sure doors are shut, but they can probably get rid of the door guards.” Churchill brings up the other concern of the arbitrariness of desk monitors.
Most residential students do not understand the need for a desk monitor at the main entrance since you can just enter through any of the alternative entrances. Having to stop and prove your identity is redundant. While RSP considers the main door the safest entrance due to its desk monitor on duty, I consider whichever entrance to which you are closest to be the safest, especially at night. Additionally, Gyamfi explained that pretty much 100 percent of thieves or vandals are caught via security cameras located at every entrance to a building. So it is really the cameras that do provide the best security.
I do not mean to suggest RSP should fire anyone, but perhaps it can create new positions as well as re-allocate funds to expand field patrol to commuter areas, specifically during the night. In addition, re-allocating funds could potentially create funding for late night bus routes, for example, which would reduce and/or eliminate much of the apprehension regarding walking around campus in the dark. Furthermore, perhaps it could improve RSP employee awareness of domestic and sexual threats via updating the protocol and training manual.