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Students learn to stay safe

On Tuesday Sept. 21, Alpha Theta Omega Christian sorority sponsered their second annual safety awareness fair at the new Student Union.

They organized the fair because of a stabbing at Penn Valley Community College on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

Penn Valley student Casey Brezik stabbed Penn Valley Dean Al Dimmit, who he mistook for Governor Jay Nixon. He also stabbed a man who tried to stop him from attacking the dean. The student faces four felony charges and is in custody.

Alpha Theta Omega hopes students learn about their surroundings, the environment and safety tips. Tracey Hawkins was the guest speaker for the event.

Hawkins advised students to not be afraid of everything.

“We know crimes are committed, but you don’t have to go to the extremes with it,” she said.

She also spoke about how to be watchful.

“Always look and scan your environment because you never know if someone’s watching you,” Hawkins said.

There are special precautions to take. Using pepper spray and alarms would be wise. Don’t use stun guns or tasers. She knows everyone would like to use a stun gun and a taser because it’s so fascinating, but these items require close proximity to the attacker.

Being that close is a greater risk than other defense options. At best, a defendant should be six to eight feet away from the attacker. That’s why the pepper spray is more effective.

Pepper spray lasts from 30-40 minutes, but Hawkins warned not to play with it, because “pepper sprays are no joke.”

She also said students should never leave dorm rooms unlocked or property unattended. Property theft is currently the most common crime.

The fastest growing crime is called identity theft.

Hawkins has been promoting safety for 15 years. She does it for a living and she said she enjoys it.

She travels to teach students how to practice proactive safety awareness. She also worked at the fair last year.

She sold pepper spray, alarms and security students can put in their houses and items for travelling.

Some of the pepper spray was for sale at this year’s fair included pepper spray that look like a regular pen, a lipstick and a perfume bottle.

Lia Washington, a UMKC freshman, said the reason she came to the awareness fair was becuase her mom always tells her to be watchful and to be on the lookout because it’s a big and open campus.

Michelle Penton, UMKC freshman and U-News staff writer, said she wants to be prepared and loves coming to all the campus events. To learn more on safety or to contact Hawkins, email her at traceyhawkins@safetyandsecuritysource.com or call her at 816-372-0939.

krucker@unews.com

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