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Call boxes ensure safety

Nov. 5, 1997

By Ganesha Martin

Reporter for The Baylor Lariat

People jog the Bear Trail very late at night and in the wee hours of the morning to achieve various weight and fitness goals. Whatever their missions, they have neglected to pay attention to the most important factor of running the Bear Trail: their safety. There are call boxes campus-wide to help ensure safety, but people may not realize these boxes have the potential to save their lives.

There are 20 call box locations around campus, strategically placed in an effort to keep students safe and foster a safer campus environment.

'The call boxes we have are a lot less sophisticated than others,' said Chief Jim Doak of the Baylor Department of Public Safety. 'They are very, very simple. With these boxes you do not have to open the box and read directions. All you have to do is push the button and you are directly connected with the dispatcher.'

Though these boxes offer easy and rapid access to help, some students say if they were in immediate danger, trying to use the call box would jeopardize their safety even more.

'The call boxes are pointless. If someone is chasing me, I am going to run,' Alisa Triolo, a San Jose, Calif., sophomore, said. 'I am not going to run and use a call box. There are not that many boxes, and if I did use the box what am I going to do? Stand there and wait for the cops to come? I'll be gone before they get there.'

To reach the dispatcher for help, one simply presses the red button on any of the boxes. The phone will ring and a dispatcher will answer and inquire about the emergency. Each box has a particular number assigned to it that informs the Baylor Police exactly where the call was made and where to send a squad car. The time it takes a squad car to arrive depends on the location of the call.

'The call box calls are very important. They are a very, very high priority because we do not know what the emergency is; if there is a problem we want to be there,' Doak said. 'We have left accident scenes to respond to call box calls because you never know what you are dealing with.'

However, some students do not take the call boxes as seriously as Baylor police. In the past, there have been several false calls. Doak said the false calls have diminished from 100 to about 60 to 70.

'I am proud to see students taking it more seriously,' Doak said. 'The neat thing is that the call boxes are there and they create a comfort zone. You cannot order pizza by pushing the button, but we will deliver and we will be there in a hurry.'

According to Doak, last year there were two calls for suspicious people, four for criminal acts and three for traffic accidents. While there has never been a serious attack on a student, the call boxes do make some students feel safer.

'I feel more secure with the boxes on campus because, if you need to use them, then they are there,' Anthony Hunter, an Austin sophomore, said. 'It makes it safer for women on campus; crime is on the uprise.'

The call boxes do tend to give students a more secure feeling, but some say they would be too panicked to even think about using them.

'I would probably be too panicked to use the box, but I also think they would not attack me if they saw me by a call box,' Chaka Brooks, a Houston sophomore, said. 'I am just glad I would have a place to call if I were in danger.'

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