By Cameron Fry–
You’re walking back to your dorm at 1:00 a.m. on a Saturday. Nothing but the sound of late night traffic and “walk sign: third street” can be heard. You turn a corner and see one of the campus’ many emergency blue lights standing tall. How safe do you feel?
Most students know these lights are placed around U of L should they ever feel threatened. When pressed, university police will be notified. However, just because you press one of these lights doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear.
“Some friends and I heard what sounded to be a woman screaming outside – so we pressed the light,” Junior Eric Elder said, describing a situation at The Province a few months ago. “It took a solid 20 to 30 seconds to get a response. Once we did, the people on the other end asked us to confirm what emergency light we were calling from. Then it took about 10 minutes for campus police to show up.”
This is troubling for a few reasons – the first being the amount of time it took to get a response. While 20 to 30 seconds doesn’t sound like much, it could mean life or death depending on the emergency. The same applies with the amount of time it took for police to arrive on the scene. Finally, it’s surprising that one needs to confirm their location. If you’re being assaulted and just barley manage to press the light, what are the chances you’re going to have opportunity to stick around and confirm an address?
Today, hardly anyone would dare walking around campus at night without a fully charged phone. Wouldn’t calling the police be just as, if not less, complicated than pressing a blue light? The Cardinal reported back in 2014 that the blue lights cost nearly $60,000 to maintain every year. Is it worth keeping these towers around when we have phones at our disposal?
“From what I’ve heard, the blue lights are hardly ever used,” Junior Paul Schieman said. “I’d rather we take the money we spend on them and use it on more police patrols. Seeing cops around late at night would make me feel safer.”
File photo / The Louisville Cardinal