As Homecoming approaches, student and guest safety is a concern for law enforcement.
SIU’s Department of Public Safety prepared for the university’s Homecoming weekend, yet tthe dept. reats it as just another day at the office.
“As far as Homecoming (is concerned), we promote safety,” said Russell Thomas, all-hazards preparedness resource coordinator for DPS. “We want to make sure that during Homecoming people don’t cross the line as far as what’s safe and what’s not safe, what’s a prank and what’s not a prank.”
Thomas said people may not know when they’re breaking the law, even if it is just for fun. He said people get in trouble for pranks less often than others think, though.
“We always try to point it out that (people should) use good judgment (and) be responsible,” he said.
Thomas said there used to be more crime during Homecoming, but it has decreased in the past 12 years and become just another day at work for the DPS.
“It’s been years since anything has happened,” Thomas said. “Homecoming is a pretty good day, actually.”
He said people should be aware of their surroundings when they use crosswalks during Homecoming weekend. He also said one of the best ways to prevent becoming a victim of crime is to travel with friends instead of alone.
“(The police) want people to have fun but to be careful,” Rod Sievers, university spokesman, said.
Sievers said law enforcement will be at the parade and football game as well as other locations to guarantee everyone’s safety during Homecoming weekend.
Despite DPS’s presence, though, some students differ on how safe they expect SIU to be over the weekend.
Catherine Dempsey, a sophomore from Mahomet studying geology, said even though she thinks the event will not be very safe because of partying students, DPS will keep it under control.
“I always see (DPS) on campus pulling people over and handing out tickets, so I think they are doing a good job keeping us safe,” she said.
Benjamin Pedrigi, a junior from La Grange studying civil engineering, said he thinks the campus will be safe for Homecoming. He said he said he feels safe at SIU and thinks past Homecomings have been safe, too.