Editorial: Teen slayings force San Diegans to rethink safety


Poway High senior Chelsea King, 17, went out for a run in Rancho Bernando Community Park and never came home. Escondido High School student Amber Dubois, 14, left one morning to walk to school and never showed up to classes. As the bodies of these two teenagers were recovered, the public also learned of registered sex offender John Albert Gardner, who was arrested for the alleged murder of King and is believed to be involved in the death of Dubois.

San Diegans find it hard to believe that such tragedies could happen in our community. The harsh reality is that such crimes can occur anywhere.

Many City students share similar characteristics with both King and Dubois, especially their age range. Any student on our campus could have suffered the same fate as these two women. Horrific events like these remind us that anyone is susceptible to being attacked. One can’t help but wonder how safe we really are on campus.

So what can City students and staff do to ensure their security?

It’s important to be aware of the numerous resources campus police make available to faculty, students and staff. SDCCD Police has a dispatch center with a 24-hour hotline. Escort services are available from the College Police by calling 619-388-6405. Students can also dial 911 from any campus pay phone for free to contact the police.

Even though common sense should always be with us, the SDCCD campus police recommends a few tips to better prepare yourself. Don’t go into strange or poorly lit areas. Walk facing on-coming traffic. Look behind you and be suspicious, as this may discourage an attacker.

Other tips involve technological luxuries like cell phones and IPods. While IPods can supply us with a soundtrack for life, they can also create a dangerous filter that reduces our ability to hear suspicious sounds. When walking in secluded areas, take out your headphones until you reach a safe location. Carry your cell phone in one hand and your keys in the other while walking to your car. Have these items readily accessible speeds up the process of getting into your car and also supplies you with a sharp object if you need it. The cell phone can be used to quickly call for help.

It’s a good idea to list an emergency contact in your cell phone labeled ICE, or in case of emergency, so if your phone is found, you decide who is contacted first.

Self-defense classes have seen a recent spike in popularity, according to the Union Tribune. City is no different, as a 12-hour self defense program is being offered at Harry West Gym on April 17 and 24. The program is free and open to SDCC faculty, staff, students and the public.