Parents worry about their kids’ safety, and it can be an especially scary time as they head off on their own to college.
There’s something to ease fears. It’s a tiny security device, about the size of a thumb drive, that can help not only college students, but also runners or anyone out alone to fend off an attacker.
“At nighttime when I'm by myself, I get scared,” says USF St. Petersburg incoming freshman Gabriella Guitierrez.
Here are recent crimes that took place on campus:
- USF student Ladarrius Jackson was accused of rape.
- Police say Christopher Levins is known to impersonate officers and got caught on campus acting suspiciously.
- Officers arrested Keion Cantrell for armed robbery and Victor Manuel Guerrero-Martinez for burglary.
The incidents make safety a huge concern.
“It's pretty scary. It's definitely always on my mind. I try to be aware of who's around me, if I see anything suspicious or odd,” says USFSP graduate Cherilyn Herzhauser.
Before the police siren sounds, students in danger can now set off the BASU eAlarm.
“When you pull this part off, a black part on the top, it comes off pretty easily, but not too easily. This extremely loud siren sounds,” explains student Saphira Howell.
The eAlarm is like a so-call safety grenade. You pull out the pin from the device and the piercing noise goes off until you put the pin back in.
“It freaks out whoever is scaring you, and alerts other people you need help. If you hear it it's scary,” says Howell.
The non-replaceable battery can last up to 30 minutes continuously or up to five years for portable protection.
One study finds, as soon as the alarm is heard 68 percent of holdup men run away empty handed.
“I think it's better than people carrying a gun around,” says Herzhauser.
“I would definitely (use it). It's a safer alternative. We can only have 5 ounces of pepper spray. It really doesn't do anything, when there's no one around,” says Guitierrez.
“If I was walking around at night, if I was going out to eat or something, definitely (this) is a thing to have,” says USFSP freshman Riley Tipton.
It gives peace of mind to parents as well.
“I'm a retired police officer, so I talk to her quite a bit about be aware of your surroundings, look around, if you see something suspicious walk away," says Cindy Warren from Temple Terrace. Her daughter, Kelly, is a USFSP student. "Definitely a device I'd love for her to have. I think I want one,”
The company, BASU, just announced to step up safety on campuses, right now all college students full- or part-time can order one for free.