Protect yourself against sexual assault: Sgt. Olson provides tips for safety around campus

Suspect sketches for the three sexual assault incidents have been posted around campus. Officials are looking for any information on the case. (Photo by Korbl Klimecki)

The recent string of violent rapes in the unincorporated Sacramento County seems to have some American River College students concerned for their safety.

Sergeant Mike Olson of the Los Rios Police Department offered several safety tips to the ARC community:

Have at least one other person with you at all times. The bigger the group one is in, the less likely one is to have problems.

“All criminals look for opportunities,” said Olson, “so pay attention to your surroundings. Stay in well-lit areas.”

This is a big one: Unplug…from your iPod, your cell phone, or anything else that can distract you from what is going on around you.

“This goes back to being aware of your surroundings,” said Olson. Many thefts occur when victims are listening to loud music in both ears and is not aware that someone else is even near them.

Olson suggested turning the music down or keeping it in one ear only.

Should someone at ARC need emergency assistance, he or she can access one of about a dozen blue campus emergency phones for reporting emergencies.

These phones connect the caller with the Los Rios Police Communications Center (LRPCC), located in the police center at Sacramento City College.

Although the phones are marked on campus maps with an “E,” those who visit campus are encouraged to pay attention to where the phones are, so they can be quickly utilized in case of an emergency.

Blue stickers with emergency information are also placed around campus. Such stickers are particularly visible on the walls of the women’s restrooms and in some cases, in the stalls themselves.

Persons requiring police assistance are instructed to call “X5521” from a campus phone or (916) 558-2221 from a cellphone or pay phone.

According to the LRPDD website, this number will also connect the caller directly to the LRPCC.

From there, callers can choose an emergency officer dispatch or request an officer for a non-emergency, such as a escort or a vehicle jump start.

To better serve the ARC community, the Los Rios Police Department holds free sexual assault workshops each semester in conjunction with the Sacramento County Sexual Assault Detail.

This workshop has not yet been scheduled for spring semester, but The Current will provide details as they are made available.

The LRPD will also provide smaller-scale workshops on sexual assault awareness or any other safety issue for any group of ARC-affiliated individuals who would like to schedule one.

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