Assaults lead to increased safety precautions

Jill Sederstrom and Emily Sickelkas

Recent assaults on the ISU campus have caused some students to take additional safety precautions.

According to Daily staff reports, an Ames-area resident reported being struck in the head and sexually assaulted near Campustown in the early morning of Oct. 19. Another ISU student reported to ISU Police she had been physically assaulted in stadium parking Lot S-4 Oct. 20. ISU Police are continuing investigations into the cases, said Jerry Stewart, director of Department of Public Safety.

“We are increasing the level of patrol in certain areas,” Stewart said. “We have also asked for additional lighting to be reactivated in the Iowa State Center lots.”

ISU Police issued a crime alert after both incidents. Several students said the assaults have changed their normal behavior.

Heather Stanley, senior in English and Spanish, said before the assaults that occurred last week, she didn’t worry about things like walking back from the library alone late at night. Now, she said, she tries not to stay out past dark alone.

“I guess I have always been cautious but I’ve just kind of let my guard down, and something like this makes it more of a concern,” Stanley said.

Angie Mowrer, sophomore in computer engineering, said during a recent house meeting in her residence hall, she and her floormates were advised to use the buddy system.

“I make sure I know where my roommate goes,” Mowrer said.

Jacki Armstrong, freshman in anthropology, said she quickens her pace if she notices a male behind her while making her nightly trek across campus. She also said one night this week she had to walk across campus alone and called her boyfriend from her cell phone to talk to him during her walk.

Veronica Kachit, sophomore in graphic design, said she hasn’t made many changes in her behavior because of the assaults, but does try to stick to main roads more often.

“I just try to pay more attention to where I am going,” she said.

Doug Houghton, program manager for the Department of Public Safety, said employees who work with the DPS safety escort program have noticed a slight increase in the number of safety escorts since the assaults. He also said employees feel more people are walking in groups.

The number of requests for safety escorts rose from 60 the week of Oct. 5 to 66 the week of Oct. 19. Houghton said this increase was not unusual and could be attributed to colder weather.

The Department of Public Safety’s safety escort service is available for students, faculty and staff from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., seven days a week. The safety escort service operates on university property and the greek system.

Sales of Mace and other self- defense sprays have been up in the area.

Walgreens, 2501 Grand Ave., was sold out of pepper spray Wednesday.

Carol Hively, corporate spokeswoman for Walgreens in Deerfield, Ill., said sales of pepper spray and the tear gas at the Ames store were up slightly over the past week or two, but said sales were not unusually high for this time of year.She said aside from pepper spray and tear gas, the Ames Walgreens also sells keychains with panic buttons.

Steve Abbott, general merchandise manager for the Hy-Vee store at 3800 W. Lincoln Way, said his store has a low supply of Mace, but blamed the shortage on supply issues rather than an excessive demand. He said he had not had anybody request Mace recently.

Employees from the west Ames Hy-Vee, 640 Lincoln Way; Target, 320 S. Duff Ave.; Kmart, 1405 Buckeye Ave. and Wal-Mart, 3015 Grand Ave., all said their stores do not carry Mace or other self-defense sprays.