University must address gaps in blue lights

Credit: Braden Kelner/Forum Editor Credit: Braden Kelner/Forum Editor

Carnegie Mellon currently has 72 two-way emergency phones, according to the university’s 2013 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. To many students, these phones are known as blue lights.

The phones are well-distributed throughout the main parts of campus, around academic buildings, and near the Cut, the Mall, and Gesling Stadium.

As Carnegie Mellon expands in accordance with its 10-year Master Plan, The Tartan hopes that the university expands its blue light system, both into newly obtained and currently owned properties.

While the blue light system may not seem to some students an effective way to protect themselves against crime, it contributes to a safer campus atmosphere. More importantly, this option for safety, if not available, could be costly to students’ well-being.

According to the 2013 Annual Security and Safety Report, there is only one blue light located on Craig Street near the University Police Department.

There are no blue lights within the vicinity of Fairfax Apartments or on Fifth Avenue between WQED and the Residence on Fifth. Furthermore, there are no blue lights near both Shirley Apartments and Webster Hall. Fifth Avenue is a high-traffic area for students living in these residences, especially since many students use the pathway between WQED and the Morewood parking lot to get to campus. Forbes Avenue presents a similar situation, as there are few easily accessible blue lights along the avenue, most notably near the Panther Hollow Inn. These areas are presumably more dangerous than areas that rest within the main part of campus, such as near Hunt Library or other academic buildings, where blue lights are already installed.

The university should attempt to fix these patches in its blue light system. The lack of blue lights in these areas may be logistical, and would depend upon whether or not the university owns property where it might place the lights. If this is the case, the university should work to place blue lights within the boundaries of its buildings’ properties, or work with the owners of properties that house Carnegie Mellon students, but are not owned by the university, to establish blue lights.

As the university expands over the next 10 years, Carnegie Mellon must place blue lights not only near new facilities that arise, but also near facilities that currently lack blue lights nearby.