Reported by Melanie Green
Daylight savings are over, nights are coming sooner and student safety becomes a greater concern at Langara College.
The security department on campus has a service called Safe Walk, which allows students to have a security guard accompany them to a bus stop, SkyTrain station, or vehicle near Langara.
Speaking through manager of communications and marketing Mark Dawson, the head of security at Langara, David Aucoin, stated via email that “Safe Walk is used approximately 20 times a year.” There were no official statistics available, however.
The program “is a huge benefit if people want to use it,” said Aucoin, manager of Safety, Security & Emergency Management at Langara. However, out of 20 students asked, one knew it existed, even though signs are posted throughout the campus hallways.
Safe but wary
Langara continuing studies student, Jodi Ponto, stays late on campus but has not felt unsafe. “Last term, some of our instructors told us about it [Safe Walk] because I think a woman had been attacked near the SkyTrain station,” she said. According to a VPD report, two attacks happened last year, one near West 48th Avenue and Manitoba Street on Jan. 23 and another near Columbia Park at West 42nd Avenue between Alberta and Columbia Street on Feb. 4.
Access to Safe Walk cause for concern
The posters state that Safe Walk schedules walks every half an hour from 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Security staff says that a call is needed to book a Safe Walk appointment.
“If a call goes unanswered, the individual should go directly to the security office,” said Aucoin via e-mail.
This presents a problem for students, especially if their class is on the other side of campus late at night.
Maria Petrova, a continuing studies language student at Langara, was not aware of the service. “I was a little scared walking to my parking spot. So now I don’t park on Ontario.”