On Sunday evening, there was a shooting in front of an Allston nightclub. For those unfamiliar with Boston University’s surrounding areas, Allston borders West Campus and is about a 10-minute walk from the start of BU facilities such as Agganis Arena, the Fitness and Recreation Center and the School of Hospitality Administration.
Allston’s proximity to campus means many BU students live in the area, including a handful of my friends. So when I got word on Sunday evening that a man had been shot several times and the shooter may have gotten away, I immediately questioned the safety of myself and my friends. To make matters worse, this shooting came after a scary weekend in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota.
While sitting in my apartment, texting friends to exchange details about the incident, I waited for an alert from BU, which never came. BU had failed to inform their students through text, email and/or phone call that there was a shooting just a short walk from our campus in an area where BU students live.
If you ask me, it’s appalling on the part of our university. BU is responsible for our safety and this past Sunday, I went to bed wondering if the school was going to inform their students about the incident. With no further word from the school, even days later, I wanted to take matters into my own hands on account of BU’s failed responsibility. I wanted to share some safety tips and while they might seem highly repetitive, it’s easy to forget that some of these simple actions can be highly effective.
1. Always walk with a friend late at night. You’re probably thinking, “duh, I’ve heard that from my parents a million times,” but this is the most effective precaution you can take. You’re not invincible — things happen. The worst thing you can do is assume that walking around BU’s campus at 12 midnight alone is a good idea just because we’re in a college area. You never know who’s around, so save yourself the trouble and walk with a friend. Nine out of 10 times you’ll likely be safe alone but rather than risking it, just walk with a friend.
2. Pay attention to your surroundings. If for some reason you’re walking alone late at night, be extra aware. Don’t walk with your head down while texting your friend or Snapchatting your entire contact list. Pay attention during your 10-minute journey — your friends on the other end can wait. While it might be boring, being observant of your surroundings is crucial.
3. Do not wear headphones and blast your music if you’re walking alone at night. Listening to music might make the time pass quicker at 12 a.m., but it’s the worst thing you can do. Even if you think you’re paying attention, I promise you’re not. It’s easy to get caught up in your music and enjoy walking home alone, but doing this is a recipe for disaster. Put your headphones away — they’re much less important than your safety.
4. Never be ashamed to call for help. If you see someone suspicious or feel uncomfortable, just call for help. There’s a good chance that everything is OK, but you never know. So for the safety of yourself and others, don’t be afraid to call the police and report a situation. As they say, “better safe than sorry.”
The moral of the story is that you can never be too safe. Take the utmost precautions because as we’ve learned from this weekend, you never know what can happen, even on or barely off campus. While these tips might seem like common sense, it’s easy to forget how effective they can be. Spare yourself the trouble and just be safe — it will only help you in the end.