Volume 94, Issue 52

Thursday, November 30, 2000


Campus under lock and key - Students still urged to exercise caution

Walkin' safe - think about it

Western students cautious at night

Campus under lock and key - Students still urged to exercise caution

By Tola Afolabi
Gazette Staff

Despite several incidents on campus, Western students should remain confident their safety is carefully guarded issue on campus.

London Police Const. Victoria Loucks said three peeping tom incidents which occurred earlier in the year did not signify an increase in crime. "The three happened in fairly close proximity, which is why the press reported on it. To my knowledge though, there hasn't been an increase in these types of incidents on campus," Loucks said. "It's possible they were related and there was one person doing it."

Most sexual assaults are done by victims' acquaintances, she added. "Stranger assaults are actually quite rare."

And convicting a suspect is often a smooth process. "[The victim] is very often willing to testify." However, in peeping tom cases, the suspect may be difficult to arrest, she said. "Very often peeping toms will live in the area they are offending."

Peeping toms are not always sexual offenders, Loucks added. Although voyeuristic behaviour is common, intruders are may also be interested in scouting out the property for a future break and enter.

University Students' Council campus safety commissioner, Michael Wood, said students are more concerned with personal theft.

Few students seem worried about their safety, and after the September peeping tom incidents, Wood received only one complaint from a student concerned with lighting in the Medway parking lot.

"I think a lot of students are aware of Foot Patrol and the services available," Wood said, adding Western is a relatively safe university, especially when compared to American campuses.

Despite Western's relative safety, improvement is a constant concern.

Randy Quan/Gazette

Foot Patrol, instituted in 1989, was in reaction to numerous campus attacks.

"Western was a scary place in the 80s. There were physical assaults in the day," said Jocelyn Auger, the program's assistant co-ordinator.

It was a needed service and it is still necessary, as 30-50 people are daily escorted between points on campus. Although 95 per cent are females, Auger said males are also concerned with their safety. "This year we have escorted more males than in previous years."

Auger said she believes incidents of sexual assualt have decreased. "I don't believe it's nearly as prevalent [as before]." She attributed the decrease in part to an increase in awareness and education, which she says is important. "I can't stress awareness enough. Use your common sense."

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