Police give campus safety tips

By Daniel Martynowicz

Safety on a college campus is paramount to ensuring a healthy learning environment for students. With the fall semester in full swing and the campus once again buzzing with activity, DeKalb Police Lt. Gary Spangler gives several tips to stay safe for the school year.

Walking alone at night is never a good idea. Spangler suggests walking in groups, staying in well lit areas and always being aware of surroundings.

He said adding alcohol to any situation increases the dangers already inherent.

“If you drink too much, bad things will happen,” Spangler said, “That’s just common sense.”

He also said the more intoxicated an individual is, the higher the chances he or she will have trouble with the law, fall down flights of stairs, fall off balconies or be struck by vehicles.

The majority of arrests are alcohol related, Spangler said.

Other factors contribute to injuries and arrests around DeKalb, Spangler said. Last year, a female NIU student was struck by a car in daylight and severely injured on Russell Road. Spangler said she was distracted while walking across the street, crossed without looking and was wearing head-phones.

He said no matter how hard an individual tries to stay out of trouble, the chance of becoming a victim always exists. When these events occur, it is legal to defend yourself, but finding the line between self-defense and assault is a tricky proposition.

“There really is no set line for determining when an individual stops defending him or herself and becomes the attacker,” Spangler said.

Often times DeKalb Police will respond to a call involving individuals fighting where the victim has no injuries while the attacker is bloody and beaten, Spangler said. The attacker may have thrown the first punch, but if they are worse off than the victim, the victim may ultimately be arrested, Spangler added.

“It’s a difficult concept to explain to people,” Spangler said. “If you are attacked you have the right to defend yourself until you are able to get away and find help.”

Spangler recommends using enough force to overcome the attacker, and then run away.

“Once they’re on the ground, there’s no need to hit them six or seven more times and break their jaw,” Spangler said. “The first opportunity you get, run away.”

Spangler recommended that men and women wishing to purchase products for personal protection such as stun gun or pepper spray should research the product to ensure its legality and safety record.