National Night Out makes students think about safety

In 2012, the campus had 42 cases of theft on record. Many students assume they, along with their belongings, are safe,   but they could be wrong.

Firefighters allowed students to try on equipment during National Night Out. The event, which was held Oct. 1, gave students the chance to learn about crime prevention and safety. Brittany Pumphrey/The Bells

Firefighters allowed students to try on equipment during National Night Out. The event, which was held Oct. 1, gave students the chance to learn about crime prevention and safety. Brittany Pumphrey/The Bells

Campus police deputy John Ellison is the current crime and prevention officer. He attended National Night Out Oct. 1 to help broadcast this important event.

“Crime prevention is a huge deal, especially here at UMHB. The better we do with crime prevention, the less we have to deal with burglaries,” he said.

The occasion gave all campus police officers a reason to help students become aware of their surroundings.

“We try to take opportunities like this to get the word out about crime prevention,” Ellison said.

One of the goals of the event is for residents to have the opportunity to get outside of the dorms and meet people other than their direct neighbors and also those who serve for their protection.

“We are out here and approachable so the students can get to know their officers in a laid-back environment. We don’t want just a business relationship, especially here with our students. We want them out talking to us all the time,” Ellison said.

In addition to campus authorities, Belton officials were also at the event making their rounds while going to other block parties happening all over town.

It might not be possible to get every resident on campus to attend an event like this, so Ellison hopes to at least get more involved and aware.

“We would love for the students to swing by, get some free food and then go back to their dorm. We don’t expect them to stay the whole time, as long as they come,” he said.

The event hosted attractions such as texting and driving, goggles that gave undergrads a chance to see what being under the influence is like and firefighter gear to try on.

Senior business administration major Joanna Leath attended and participated in the activities.

“Students who come can learn about several different parts like don’t text and drive and the seat belt simulator. They can also get their bike registered while fellowshipping with other students,” she said.

Sophomore nursing major Jacob Barnes is a Belton firefighter and came to show his support with other volunteers.

“It’s always good to know who’s watching your back and protecting you. It’s not just the firemen that were there. It was security, police officers, and medics, all of which help in the community. National Night Out is all about knowing who serves you,” he said.

Barnes assisted attendees who wanted to try on the firefighter paraphernalia.

“Honestly, it’s just cool to try on the gear and see the trucks. You get to sit in the back of a cop car and not be in trouble this time. It’s fun,” Barnes said.

According to Ellison, the purpose of the event was all about awareness.

If Crusaders become more aware of the crime around them, the night served its purpose.

Ellison said, “If we can get just a few people to not leave property in their car, then we’ve won.”

Author: The Bells Staff

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