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The Antelope

The Antelope

New lamp posts shine a light on campus safety improvements

Scared Louie the Loper. Cartoon made by Grace McDonald

A young student just left work late at night. They find a parking spot, lock up their car and start the hike back to their dorm room. As they walk through the parking lot, their hand tenses around their car keys; they have to be prepared, just in case. Every dark corner sends goosebumps down their body.

They think, “Is someone waiting for me in one of these corners? Am I wearing shoes I can run in? Is this the night I don’t make it home?” These are questions that no college student should have to ask themselves. 

UNK Facilities increased lighting near parking lots and sidewalks. Facilities Management and Planning replaced seven streetlights near the Otto Olsen landscaping site and added five streetlights for the new parking lot. 

While this may not stop strangers from lurking on campus, The Antelope agrees that it makes UNK safer. 

Better campus lighting could decrease crime, according to Ronald V. Clarke’s article for the U.S. Department of Justice, “Improving Street Lighting to Reduce Crime in Residential Areas:

There is a heightened risk of criminals being caught or recognized. 

UNK Police officers are more visible.

Repeat offenders can be recognized during their arrests.

These lights also protect students from things other than criminals. Increasing streetlights encourages students to go out more at night, making isolated areas more public. It also makes it safer for drivers, bikers and joggers that are commonly outside during late hours.  

UNK deserves a round of applause, but there are still safety issues that are concerning.

One of these safety concerns has popped up recently in UNK parking lots is AirTags. Apple invented them to track personal items, yet they are being used by some criminals to track unsuspecting victims. Students have reported finding them inside or near their cars in Lots 11 and 12 by Cope Stadium.   

Using AirTags to track students without consent could compromise their safety. UNK could prevent this by adding more surveillance to parking lots. They also need to encourage students to report unknown devices found on campus. 

Another way that UNK could protect students is by adding more campus patrols at night. It is stated in UNK’s “Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report” that UNK Police conduct foot, bicycle and motorized patrol of the campus 24 hours a day. This needs to be more apparent to students.

The Antelope is glad to see UNK making changes to guard its students. UNK is a place where students should come to learn and thrive and not have to think twice about their safety. The streetlights are a helpful tool to increase safety.

Now please keep them turned on.

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