DeKALB – DeKalb police and Northern Illinois University Student Association are working together to promote personal safety on campus and in the community.
The “Not On My Campus” campaign encourages students and residents alike to take an active role in community safety, said DeKalb Police Chief Eugene Lowery. Fliers with safety tips and police contact information are being distributed throughout the campus community.
“At this point, it’s just starting to get the message out,” Lowery said.
Students and residents are reminded to be aware of their surroundings and take away the opportunity to be a victim, in addition to helping others and reporting suspicious activity.
Austin Quick, speaker of the senate for the Student Association, said student safety in off-campus housing areas near Greek Row has been a concern this semester. He referred to an increase in violent activity with shootings, stabbings and robberies that have occurred the past six weeks.
The idea for the campaign came from a flier Quick saw while visiting the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign promoting a similar program. He said the campaign’s title lets others know students are taking back the community.
“We’ve heard from too many students that they feel unsafe while walking in their neighborhoods,” Quick said. “It’s about being vigilant.”
The more the community bands together, the better, Lowery said. Partnering with the Student Association allows police to spread the message across campus.
“We want our campus and our city to be safer, and that no [matter] how small or large the contribution, that everyone contribute to making it that way,” he said. “We have a large group of young people here, and we’re trying to make that experience as positive and safe as possible.”
Quick said he hopes the campaign makes a difference. It can be frustrating to hear people say they didn’t report something they observed, he said.
Programs such as the university’s bystander intervention training emphasize the importance of letting authorities know about suspicious activity.
“If we see something someone is doing, we’re going to report it,” he said.