Urging students to take precaution
Precautions for student safety don’t just remain within the Wilfrid Laurier University campus. The Waterloo Region Police Services (WRSP) are urging that all students who live within the Waterloo community to take extra preventative measures to avoid assault, robberies and other incidences.
According to Matthew Halliday, the community resource officer for WRPS, more incidents have not been reported this year, but he still believes the chance of an incident happening is possible.
“Really, the opportunity can be there and it’s just people do a few of those crime prevention techniques,” said Halliday.
“Right now, in the past week, there have been virtually no cases that have come across my case in terms of assault,” said Adam Lawrence, the acting dean of students at Laurier.
While there have been no major cases reported so far, Lawrence stressed that students, the university and the community has to be mindful of their surroundings to ensure a safe environment.
“We can say safety seems to be at an optimum right now, but we do need to be mindful of constantly being safe in everything we do,” added Lawrence.
However, on Sept. 14, WRPS attended a bar in Uptown Waterloo where they arrested and charged a 20-year-old male for adding a noxious substance to a drink.
“The substance was never consumed and no one was injured as the result of his action,” said sergeant E. Jemol at WRPS.
Jemol urged patrons at bars to be conscious of where they leave their beverages and to check it before consumption.
Last February and March, the Northdale neighbourhood experienced a number of robberies at gunpoint, which were later discovered to have been done with fake guns. Regardless, Halliday mentioned that the threat is always around.
Halliday noted that one of the most important things to remember that when walking around the Waterloo community is to be aware of the surroundings. “Even being aware of their surroundings and looking up as you’re walking around is very important,” he added.
Lawrence explained that the increase in police presence and safety measures are a result of the increasing relationship between the university, the police services, the city and the Town and Gown committee Laurier sits on.
“What I’ve just seen in the past couple of weeks, the police and their relationship with the Town and Gown committee … it’s getting that much better where there is that ‘working together’ approach,” continued Lawrence.
Halliday doesn’t believe that incidences occurring to students have been becoming more of an issue.
“Students are here for four years, but we’re not really considering them visitors, they are part of our community,” he said.