It’s dark, cold, and the moon is shining down, and the wisps of clouds pile in front of it. Students gather in front of the Library and await the SAFE team to pick them up. They do that because they are afraid to walk back to their rooms, or cars, in the dark.
“We are a safe and free escort to help eliminate crime on campus,” Monica Keasey, assistant director for the SAFE team, said. “USF has a low crime rate to begin with, but I believe that we are in part responsible for that.”
The SAFE team has been around since 1976 and is funded by Student Government. The team helps students get home safer and assists University Police with calling in crimes. The team has only 12 golf carts that are available to them. They have requested more from the SG and are waiting to see what happens. The SAFE team is comprised of approximately 51 students and is in the process of hiring. The carts and the employees are what make up the biggest portion of the SAFE team’s budget.
“With more people out we can help watch out for accidents and car break-ins,” Keasey said. “There are times UP even asks us to watch out for suspicious people.”
Due to increase of student clients and added service from the USF Credit Union parking lot to the dorm rooms, the SAFE team has received new golf carts.
“SG, parking services and the residence hall found that there was a need to have carts going to that parking lot because it is so far away for students to walk at night,” Keasey said. “Also, the carts have been replaced, because of all the wear and tear they have received.”
Student body president Mike Griffin rode with the SAFE team Thursday night to get a better understanding of what they do.
“It’s something that I have always wanted to do for a while,” Griffin said. “They are other SG employees, the unsung heroes that help out students in rain or shine.”
Griffin observed the organization from 6:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. Thursday.
Keasey said she thought it was a good idea that Griffin was taking time to understand what the SAFE team does.
“It is totally different when you are actually riding around or receiving phone calls,” she said. “It helps the SG get a better idea of us and will maybe help us in the long run when it comes to funding.”
Keasey said the team averages about 250 students a night during the week and approximately 100 on the weekends.
“We pick up and drop off on campus only,” she said.
The SAFE team operates between the hours of 7 p.m. and 2 a.m. seven days a week. Yet, there are places that the escort service is not allowed to go due to university and SAFE team safety rules, Keasey said.
“We can’t go anywhere where there are columns, breezeways, along the sidewalks by the Library, or through the parking garage,” she said. “But if we can’t physically bring the cart to a student, a team member is supposed to get out and walk with the person to wherever they need to go, whether the cart or their room.”
Students who don’t want to walk alone at night can call the SAFE team at 974-SAFE.
- Contact Stefanie Greenat firstname.lastname@example.org