Student-run campus patrols improve students’ safety
Student-run campus patrols improve students’ safety
  • Moon Bo-ra
  • 승인 2012.10.12 13:07
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Dongguk University’s Campus Police consists of 55 students majoring in Police Administration. Photo by Kahng Sun-woo.

Around 11:00 p.m. last November, two female students at Yonsei University encountered a man carrying a blunt instrument assumed to be a bat in the dim light. The man threatened the pair but, fortunately, they ran away unharmed. It was not the first incident on campus; similar incidents occurred a few times more last year in Sinchon alone.
With such dangerous incidents recurring, students became anxious about safety on campus and considered on how best to protect themselves and their friends. The Yonsei University’s 49th Student Government, Focus On, set up recruited volunteers to patrol the campus at night, naming the patrol Eagle Guards in March.
“Schools need to guarantee students’ basic right to be safe at least on campus, but Korean universities do not make the least effort,” said Lee Dae-kun (Yonsei University, 3), the head manager of the Eagle Guards. “Thus, we, the Eagle Guards, decided to do it ourselves for the university community.”
Sinchon is not the only campus area where students feel under threat. Similar incidents have occurred at other campus areas, such as Konkuk University Station and Daehangno, and students of other universities have also established student campus patrols. These include Konkuk University’s KU Protector, Dongguk University’s Campus Police and Ajou University’s Ajou Protector.
Dongguk University’s Campus Police was organized by students majoring in Police Administration as a volunteer project in October 2011. This semester, 55 students take turns patrolling the campus for three hours a day, putting into practice what they learn in their major subject.
“Due to Police Administration’s specialty, we practice judo three days a week, which come in handy in dangerous situations,” said Lee Geun-ju (Dogguk University, 2), the captain of the Campus Police. “Also, we feel more responsible since protecting our campus is a part of public safety, which is what we study in school.”
As such campus patrols are student-run groups, they do not hold any judicial power or the right to investigate. Thus, their primary purpose is to prevent potential crimes by showing the campus is always well-patrolled by alerted students, which has based proved to be effective so far as no further dangerous incidents have been reported.
“Before the establishment of Campus Police, there were threatening cases such as drunken people practicing violence against students,” Lee said. “But, no such cases have been witnessed nor reported since then.”
Although their main purpose is prevention, the student patrols prepare to safely cope with unexpected situations. They must wear protective gear and carry walkie-talkies, whistles, flashlights, and pepper spray. In the case of Eagle Guards, a 12-hour course of Seoul Seodaemun Police Station’s education, self-protection lessons and gender sensitivity education is mandatory.
While some are organized voluntarily by students, others are established by the schools, such as the Ewha Zikimi at Ewha, and Zaro at Sungkyunkwan University. The Ewha Zikimi was established by the Office of Student Affairs in 2007, and this semester has 40 students who patrol the Ewha campus between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. They are also required to wear a uniform and carry a police baton, yet must not attempt to suppress incidents. Instead, they are to call the Office of General Affairs in any emergency.
Students welcome the student campus patrols and are appreciative of their work.
“Our campus is located downtown where many drunk people hang out, but I feel safe because I always see the KU Protectors walking around the campus with flashlights,” Kim Jong-wook (Konkuk University, 3) said.
Experts comment that campus patrols reflect students’ desire to protect themselves, and may have a preventative effect.
“As students notice a university campus is not a safe zone anymore, they feel the need to autonomously prevent future crimes,” professor Kwack Dae-gyung (Dongguk University) said. “While the number of crimes prevented by them cannot be quantified, it may lower potential criminals’ will to commit a crime on campus at the planning stage.”

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