|Updated: 11/16/2012 9:29 am
||Published: 11/15/2012 9:16 pm
CONWAY, AR - Students, campus police, and staff worried about security dangers on the UCA campus took a walking tour to identify how to make students feel safer.
More than 60 people signed up to be part of Operation Safe Walk made up of students, staff, and faculty to make sure when people walking the sidewalks on campus don't run into any potential dangers.
The tour groups look for dark alleys, overgrown bushes and trees, or isolated parking lots where possible predators can lurk. Campus Police Chief Arch Jones sent 6 groups out to different areas of campus are looking for unsafe situations. "We want the UCA community to know that safety is a number one priority on our campus. These types of collaborative efforts prove that to be so."
Chief Jones says since UCA started doing safety walks, students report feeling more comfortable on campus. Miya Watson is a sophomore and says she feels very safe. "I can walk anywhere and not be afraid of anything going wrong."
In the past two years, UCA spent $175,000 making improvements to campus. Freshman Corey Parks say he sees the results. "Through Operation Safe Walk, they were able to figure out areas that needed more lighting, so students were able to feel safer."
Sophomore Jarred Turner says those improvements are important to him. "One of the biggest things is lights. I know there are some places on campus students don't feel comfortable because there's not enough lighting."
Chief Jones also says adding blue emergency stations is a crime deterrent. "UCA is a safe campus and it takes all of us working together to keep it that way. Operation Safe Walk is in that spirit."
Terry Starnes is a member of the staff at UCA and took part in the walk. He says Operation Safe Walk is preemptive for fixing problems before they become problems.
All the information collected from the groups on the walk is gathered and a check list is made for UCA to start working on identified problem areas that need fixing.
UCA isn't the only university to hold safety walks. UALR also holds similar security tours around campus to improve the safety of students.