Madison Burke | Lindenlink Contributor
Over 40 registered sex offenders live within one mile of Lindenwood’s campus. This information is easily found on web sites like familywatchdog.com, but most students would never think to look it up. Students freely walk around campus and the surrounding community late at night, but are they safe? Are sexual predators posing a silent danger that has gone unnoticed?
What steps should students be taking to ensure their safety? Officer Erik Lawrenz of the St. Charles Police Department
gives this advice: “Choose well-lighted streets and bus stops, staying near the curb,” he said. “Avoid alleys and
shrubbery. Invite a friend to walk with you.” Lindenwood Junior Anna Srbovska said she sometimes
gets scared walking back to Lindenwood from Main Street at night after the bars are closed.
“I am always with a group of people, but still it can be so dark and creepy on that walk home,” she said. “You always
wonder if there’s anyone out there that would hurt you.”
Lawrenz said it is best to walk in pairs or a group at night. If you are alone and feel threatened, follow these tips.
•If you are being followed, get away fast.
• Change direction or head for open businesses.
• If approached by a stranger, run to the center of the
• Don’t hesitate to call for help.
It also is important not to be walking at nighttime when under the influence of alcohol, drugs or even if you are exhausted, Lawrenz said. Most people who are walking home from Main Street are at least two of those things. Being
under the influence is easily recognizable by predators, and they are more likely to go for an easy target, he said.
Sometimes going out at night can be unavoidable if a student has to get to his or her car. Lawrenz offered this guidance to stay safe. Keep your car doors locked and windows rolled up at all times; always check the rear seat before entering your car, he said. Have your key in hand before reaching car; don’t put identification on your key ring. In addition, use well-lighted main thoroughfares and always park in well-lighted areas. Do not hitchhike or pick up a hitchhiker.
Finally, if you are being followed by another car, don’t go home. Head for a well-lighted, well-populated area or drive
to the police station and blow the horn. Get a description of the vehicle. Being aware of dangers around you can be scary at first, Lawrenz said, but it is important to know the risks and take proper measures to ensure your safety. Knowledge is an important tool to protect yourself.