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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

UPD implement protocols for end of daylight savings

UPD+implement+protocols+for+end+of+daylight+savings
Eva Bowler

As students finish their 5 p.m. classes in the winter months, the sun has already set, and with dimmed streets ahead, they begin their cold walks home. University Police Department (UPD) has implemented services, however, to help students walking home on non-lit routes.

Lauren Losh, a public administration junior who lives at The Vistas, located at 401 North Fredericksburg Street, said she chooses to walk on university property when walking to campus because she believes Texas State property is more well-lit than off-campus streets.

“[Comanche Street] is well-lit until about half of the street and then there’s just no lights,” Losh said. “I walk that street pretty frequently because that is where H-E-B and other businesses I frequent are, and every time I am there I have to pull up my flashlight because I can’t see otherwise, especially now [with daylight savings].”

The end of daylight savings occurred on Nov. 5, 2023, which pushed the clock one hour back. It will last until March 10, 2024 when one hour will be added back.

According to UPD Chief of Police Matthew Carmichael, UPD takes the time change into consideration when planning safety protocols.

Campus is equipped with 67 blue-light emergency call boxes located in different areas around Texas State. The boxes have a red button that anyone walking on campus is encouraged to push if they feel unsafe, and once that happens, UPD gets notified and shows up at the scene.

Carmichael said the call boxes location directly impact safety when students such as Losh are walking in the dark because not everyone has a phone in case of emergency.

“The blue phones play an important role in [crime] deterrence because that blue phone says to somebody that may be thinking about doing harm to you that the cops are a button away,” Carmichael said.

Now that the sun sets earlier, when students walk across campus, or from campus to their apartments after dark, Carmichael said they should opt for choosing well-lit routes in the city and not forgo safety for convenience by walking shorter but darker roads.

“There is no reason to walk alone and if the shuttles aren’t running late or you have no ride home just call the police department saying you need a ride from a police officer,” Carmichael said. “My message for our students is don’t be shy, to call us.”

In addition to the emergency call boxes, Carmichael said campus is equipped with about 1,000 security cameras that feed directly into UPD’s dispatch center, which serve as a deterrent in the same way the blue phones do.

“Last year, two assaults were solved by catching the suspect on those cameras and carrying out the photo,” Carmichael said. “What’s nice is our dispatchers have full access to the cameras, especially at night and in the late hours, and they are good at monitoring areas like parking garages and outside resident halls.”

Losh said it’s important for her to have her car during her uneasy late-night walk since finding shuttles that run late is something she has never been able to do.

Rodrigo Gonzales, manager of Texas State’s transit operations, said the schedule for Bobcat Shuttle is consistent year-round and is not dependent on the winter months. On weekdays, the first bus departs at 7 a.m. and leaves campus at 10:30 p.m. For weekends, there are two routes on Saturday but no buses on Sunday.

Gonzales said real-time changes to the schedule are communicated to students through the shuttle tab on the Texas State app, emails and social media. Only in case of emergencies would the schedule change mid-semester.

“Typically the number of students using the shuttle goes down when it gets darker sooner…,” Gonzales said. “We look at the number of ridership… to follow up with complaints on packed buses or complaints we receive from riders in general.”

According to Carmichael, the Student Safety Escort (SSE) Program, another service UPD has to ensure student safety, concluded the fall semester with about 1,000 rides and has been useful since the time change, especially with the shuttle schedule.

“[SSE] strengthens the safety protocols for students walking alone because you can call at late hours and get a ride off campus,” Carmichael said. “We just added Sunday nights before the break because of student requests and since there are [no shuttles] running then.”

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