Community safety starts with communication

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Today’s average college student frequently uses social media sites such as Snapchat and Twitter to connect with peers, but what if universities could utilize these platforms to promote student safety?
While universities are logging onto their own social media pages to be more involved with students and promote their brand, many do not seem too concerned with fully updating their students with information that may tarnish their name (such as safety alerts).
As much as universities are trying to be involved with their students by posting content such as boomerangs or snaps, these posts are typically plugs for activities and events, among other non-vital information.
Students receive texts from their university about emergencies or classes being cancelled due to inclement weather, so why not about potentially dangerous situations within our vicinity?
Just this past spring semester, there was an active shooter at the local Honeysuckle Apartments, and the lack of communication between the university and students had many startled.
The incident started at 1:30 a.m., and Bloomsburg University’s first tweet was delayed nearly an hour and a half. Eventually a tweet was sent out, but the information was confusing and only partially accurate.
The tweet said that Honeysuckle was being evacuated and that Kehr was being used as a shelter for evacuees. In reality, it was only the 200 building that was evacuated, and the shelter was the clubhouse lobby. There was a follow-up tweet with corrections, but not until about 40 minutes later.
Furthermore, many students were unaware of the recent incident concerning a gunman on Glenn Avenue (when an armed man tried to forcefully enter an apartment on Aug. 31) until the situation was resolved. This area is home to many students, yet no alert was sent out. With all this having been said, we at The Voice want to be clear in that we are not unaware or ungrateful for the work that campus police put in to keep Bloomsburg students safe. We simply want to acknowledge that students are frustrated by what appears to be a lack of communication when it comes to certain incidents.
Strong communication between law enforcement and its community is not a foreign idea to Bloomsburg residents. For example, the town police use the app “CRIMEWATCH Mobile” to post about any suspicious/criminal activity in town. The app was utilized this past weekend when a party-goer yielded a firearm at a party on Iron Street. A push notification was sent regarding the situation along with a description of the suspect, but not a word from the university.
We at The Voice would like to encourage students to consider downloading the CRIMEWATCH app in order to keep up-to-date with suspicious/criminal activity that could be happening in town. Furthermore, we hope that the university will be cognizant in the future of what is happening in the community and how to relay this information to students in the future.
We also encourage students to learn about some of the safety resources available to them on campus such as police escorts, emergency call boxes (and their location) and administrative social medias in order to promote a good relationship with campus security and have an understanding between students and campus police, as communication is key when it comes to keeping the community safe.
-The Voice