Last week an off-duty San Antonio police officer was arrested on our campus for indecent exposure. According to reports, Patrick Muriel approached two girls (at different times and locations) in his car, waved them over and exposed himself to them before speeding away.

In September 2007, a man was charged with indecent exposure in the JPL. He was arrested after a security officer found him masturbating among students.

In both cases, neither man was a student at UTSA. And while UTSAPD acted quickly and efficiently in both cases, it still begs the question: just how safe are we?

As one would assume, everybody has access to a public campus like ours. And even though we have officers patrolling the areas at all times, they obviously can’t be everywhere at once. Therefore, we can’t always depend on them to save us when a seemingly nice stranger asks us for directions.

While the best idea might be to just ignore anybody you don’t know, it’s not that easy. There are over 28,000 students on campus so one is bound to talk to somebody new every day. But there are some things you can do to keep yourself a little safer.

First, try not to be alone as much. Meet up with a friend in between classes and walk as a team. Creepy people are less likely to approach multiple people than loners. If you can’t find somebody, at least stay in touch with phone calls or texts. If you are at the library late at night, let somebody know when you get there and when you get back home. If something was to happen to you, the chances of somebody coming to help are better.

UTSAPD is available and willing to help students. That’s what they are there for. If you don’t feel safe for any reason at all or if you have a crime to report, call them at 458-4242. If it is an emergency, call 458-4911. It is their job to help.

Hopefully incidents like this will not happen again, but if it does it is always good to be prepared. Crazy people will always be around, so make sure you know how to keep yourself safe.