Photo illustration by Megan Bender

EDITORIAL: Ensuring safety must be group effort

Safety a primary issue for Humboldt community
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Safety a primary issue for Humboldt community

For students at Humboldt State University, Arcata plaza is the place to go to grab a drink after a stressful day of exams or just to hang out. As a result, the bars are incredibly busy, loud, and dense with drunk people who make drunken mistakes. It’s a recipe for disaster when a person is in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people.

On Oct. 25, a man was stabbed to death near Arcata plaza. The suspect was later arrested according to Arcata Police Department.

This stabbing is close to home for HSU students. Students have witnessed several murders over the past five years including the murder of David Josiah Lawson, who was murdered at a party of campus. This stabbing could have easily been another student death.

The incident calls to question the safety of Arcata and who is responsible for keeping it safe? How do we ensure that students can enjoy their cheap pints safely?

The usual people we turn to are the police, and in cases involving students, we turn to HSU. As public servants, police are supposed to ensure security for the general welfare, and HSU brings students into that public.

The APD say they have police patrolling Arcata Plaza at all times. They are often out and about, biking around and engaging with the local people. This is a great way to connect with the people and see them face to face.

But with the amount of people that typically visit the bars, the police may have too much work to do. Interactions between people happen very quickly and in the case of a crowded bar or busy street, someone may not be around to help at a moment’s notice.

Additional police would be great to have, but in reality, labor costs money and suggesting more police may not be cost effective. If HSU wants to invest in security for students, they can’t leave out the downtown Arcata nightlife. just like how HSU subsidizes the bus systems in Humboldt County.

HSU and Arcata should consider having emergency blue light emergency phones extending from campus to Arcata plaza. Students, or people in general can have direct contact with Arcata or campus police. They offer a sense of security like a beacon in the fog. Just like security cameras, the presence of phones should at least deter violence in general.

Arcata bars should also share the responsibility of security for their patrons. Bouncers are often posted outside of the bars, but rarely check people’s belongings. Weapons can be easily concealed and should be checked.

Ultimately, safety still lies with the individual. Being aware of your environment and surroundings is the best way to rely on your safety. There won’t always be security nearby, so if you ever feel something fishy about the situation you’re in, whether it be the setting or the people you’re with, listen to your instincts.

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