File photo shows that local Qigong enthusiasts perform during the press conference of the International Health Qigong Tournament and Exchange, in New York University in New York, the United States, Aug. 15, 2013. (Xinhua/Cheng Li)
By Xinhua Writers Xia Lin, Huang Hexun
NEW YORK, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Living and studying in New York, the most diverse city of the United States, college students may have a lot to cope, particularly personal safety. For those at New York University (NYU), it is one of their top priorities aside from finance and accommodation.
"Not long ago, there was a shooting spree at the square in front of our university. Few of us knew about it, because it happened at night. The university sent e-mail to alert us. So, if you go out alone at night, you must ask security staffer to escort you," Chinese student Wang Yun told Xinhua right before a new school year starts in early September.
GENERALLY SAFE AT NYU
NYU is a private non-profit research university. It was founded in 1831, with its main campus centered in Manhattan, the most diverse part of the diverse city.
Its students, especially those from overseas, have reasons to believe that they are mostly safe on campus, where security personnel and facilities are seen around.
"Generally speaking, campus life in the U.S. is very safe, particularly in New York. It is very safe in most colleges like NYU," said Wang Yuan, another Chinese student.
"It is very safe now at NYU. There is one security point for several blocks, where you can stay for safety. Meanwhile, security staffers are all around," Wang Ruixing, a third Chinese student told Xinhua.
"After all, a lot of police are on patrol 24 hours a day. Emergency stands are everywhere. If you make a call, campus security will come to help you," added Wang Yuan.
File photo shows that students celebrate during the 182nd Commencement of the New York University at Yankee Stadium, New York, May 21, 2014.(Xinhua/Cheng Li)
OUTSIDE CAMPUS IS ANOTHER STORY
For NYU students, the campus is almost paradise, but outside, danger lurks.
"One afternoon at the Washington Square when I crossed the park, one black man stopped me for either money or fight. He was finally subdued by the people around."
Except for truculent boors, drug-using tramps and gun-carrying guys are the ones that you have to eschew, added Wang Yuan.
Emergency occurs any time outside campus, then what is the best way to deal with it?
"The university protects us with overall security education. For example, if anything goes wrong around, we will receive from the university e-mail about common knowledge of security," said Wang Yun.
Wang Yuan reminded that either boy or girl staying outside at night in places with few people, he'd better team up with friends, for more confidence and power.
Meanwhile, there are purple lights on roadside for security calling. When you feel unsafe, just push for the lights and NYU security will be here to help you.
LOCALS HAVE CUES FOR STUDENTS
Essentially safe in NYU, student has to be cautious when reaching out. Managing to have your own group and learn to use the emergency utilities, he will have a smooth situation.
However, local student and resident have more elements to hint and share.
"For campus safety, it depends on where you are. In America, people in a lot of states are allowed to have guns. Some lawmakers are fighting to make sure that you can still keep your gun even on the school' s campus, which I think makes the school far less safe. But guns are all over this country. I think that definitely impacts the safety of the campus environment. So public safety is also at risk," NYU Student Jadayah Spencer told Xinhua.
Local resident Craig Jenkins has another cue, saying that "I know when I was younger, they said at night time, originally, you didn't walk close to the building, because somebody could pull you in the building and took your money. So you walked next to the cars. I know a lot of women who wear the ring backwards so that the rock is here to keep it covered."
As the most densely populated city in the U.S., security concerns are also dense in New York.
For NYU in Manhattan where police force is much heavier than other boroughs, security is certainly better guaranteed than elsewhere.
"The main aspect of New York was, the mayor and police achieved many years ago, they took it very seriously to show all the potential robbers that was taken very seriously. So any infringement, anything that you did wrong, they stopped it right there. Now you see very little graffiti. Before the graffiti were everywhere," said Jenkins.
Spencer would rather like to depend on herself. She has been studying martial arts to stay safe. "So if anything happens, I can protect myself," she added.
CITY LESS DANGEROUS
Self-protection and protection from police and facilities combine to make a fine picture. As years went on, the Big Apple has managed to polish its image, from inside out.
"NYU has safe ride. So if you are at campus late, like studying at library, they will take you from where you are to the train station or to your dormitory. The security is 24/7, so they hear with that. If you ever feel unsafe, you can call NYU and report it to them, in addition to calling the police," said Spencer.
"There were always tough, mean-looking people in the subway and street corners. And police don't accept it anymore. So I think that's it. A serious police presents. Yesterday, I came to the park, and there was something happening. Somebody tried to steal the money from musicians. They were tackled. And when I got by it, it was all police. So, very quick you know. We've seen that couple of times now, there are lots of police in regular clothing here. And it's very good," said Jenkins.
Official figures said that crime rate has kept going down in the past two decades in New York.
Though information and comments sound positive, college students are not supposed to loosen their nerves, for they are a fragile and susceptible group.
Anyway, for NYU students, remember to press the purple lights when you have a problem.