Students stay vigilant living off campus
Published: Thursday, December 1, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
With about half of SMU students opting to live off-campus after their sophomore year, many discover that they must take extra precautions the farther away from campus they live.
Junior Bryce Boyd learned this lesson when he lived in lower Greenville, an active area for crime in 2010 according to recently released crime reports.
Boyd knew the risks that he was taking when moving into his place, but said he felt like most crime would not affect him.
"Much of the crime in that area is bar-related. Bar fights, public intoxication, and minor in consumption aren't particularly threatening crimes," Boyd said. "My roommates and I considered it when we moved there, but it ultimately didn't change ourminds, or have too large of an impact on us day to day."
However, Boyd and his roommates were victims of a crime during his lease.
"The only real crime we faced was a hit-and-run on my roommate's truck," Boyd said. "Living so close to the area of lower Greenville where the bars are located probably increased the number of drunk drivers in our area."
Boyd's house was hidden behind another complex, so pedestrians walking by were not aware that his place existed.
Even then, Boyd and his roommates took the extra precaution of keeping their door locked at all times.
Boyd admits that in hindsight, his apartment and neighborhood were not as safe as they could have been.
"Looking back I can see some situations that could have been unsafe, but they were usually more a product of circumstance than anything," Boyd said.
SMU senior Hillary Talbot was tucked in her bed and drifting off to sleep when she heard police sirens and helicopters out of nowhere. Curious, she got out of bed to see what the commotion was about.
It wasn't until she started receiving texts from friends asking if she was okay that she started to realize what was going on.
Talbot has lived in The Phoenix on Mockingbird Lane for the past two years and was inside her apartment when a shooter entered the complex in February 2011.
"I knew I was going to be okay because my front door was locked and the shooter wasn't going to randomly try to break into my apartment. He ran back to his friend's apartment," Talbot said. "It would have been stupid for the shooter to make more of a scene with the police surrounding the complex."
A year after the shooting, Talbot says she still feels safe at her place.
"I've never felt threatened here," Talbot said. "The shooting was an unusual activity."
Dallas police seem to have taken extra measures to ensure an incident similar to the shooting in February 2011 doesn't happen again.
Talbot said police monitor the parking lot between The Phoenix and Kroger for any suspicious activity.
Talbot and Boyd both say students need to recognize that when they choose to live off-campus, there are greater risks.
"Know your neighbors, lock your door and car, and pay attention. A lot of bad things can be prevented if you make sure to be aware of your surroundings," Boyd said. "Stay away from things that look suspicious."
Talbot believes students should be aware on SMU campus grounds as well.
"Always remember that you're living in Dallas and crime is going to happen," Talbot said. "While SMU may seem like a ‘bubble,' we are still subject to penetration even on campus. Big cities will always have the opportunity for crime so always make sure you are safe and be aware of your surroundings."