By Julianne Heberlein
Some University of Maryland students are concerned about campus safety after the Las Vegas concert shooting on October 1st.
At least 59 people were killed and over 500 people were injured at a Mandalay Bay country music festival while singer Jason Aldean was performing.
“This was an act of terror,” said University of Maryland Police Department Chief David Mitchell.
UMPD follows every active shooting in the country to review how the shooting happened. Mitchell said the department uses an acoustic sensing system called “Shots Fired” that detects gunfire, differentiates between types of guns and reports where the gunfire is coming from.
According to the UMD Code of Student Conduct, “unauthorized on campus or illegal off-campus use, possession, or storage of any weapon” is subject to disciplinary action. The term “weapon” includes all firearms, pellet guns, switchblade knives, and knives with blades at least 5 inches long.
Junior Jake Lubbehusen has become more cautious and alert on campus after the Pulse Night Club shooting in June 2016.
“Since Pulse, I’ve been very alert while on the metro or in a big lecture hall because I really do feel worried … We shouldn’t have to be this concerned about these things happening. Schools are places where people should be able to learn,” said Lubbehusen.
Sophomore undergraduate studies major Jinwook Hwang grew up in Korea, where guns are banned.
“Coming to the U.S., where guns are allowed, was surprising,” said Hwang. “In 7th grade, I heard about someone turning in someone else’s driveway and a neighbor shot them with a gun. That’s when I knew America had a gun issue.”
In response to students’ safety concerns, Mitchell recommended students to “always be aware of your surroundings and situational awareness is key. Follow your instincts … Call us when you have that sense of vulnerability.”
Students offered suggestions on how to prevent shootings from happening on campus.
Lubbehusen, who studies broadcast journalism and government and politics, said he thinks the University of Maryland Police Department has a good sense of what’s going on in the community, but that we still need to be prepared.
“Just because these things are so unpredictable, I think that pretending like it isn’t a possibility is dangerous,” said Lubbehusen. “We can’t live in fear every day, but we need to make sure there is a sense of preparedness and awareness in case of an emergency.”
Hwang thinks campus security can always be improved.
“I don’t think there’s anything police can do in preventing [shootings], but they can maintain and tighten security that currently exists,” said Hwang. “Sometimes we associate security with more power to authority, but we need to understand that they’re trying to help you, not harm you.”
Both Mitchell and UMPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Rosanne Hoass said they wished more students used the UMD Guardian App, which allows users to text UMPD in emergencies, including active shootings. The texting feature helps users from revealing their location, so shooters won’t hear them calling the police. The app also has an escort feature that alerts a guardian if you don’t respond to the app when you arrive at an intended destination safely.
UMPD will send letters of condolence and support to the first responders of the Las Vegas Municipal Police Department. This is part of an initiative that UMPD has done for every officer shot or killed on duty.
“It’s our way of supporting one another in a profession that is high-risk and also to support those left behind,” said Mitchell. “I’ve been through this too many times. I’ve been there when they were killed and held their hands when they died.”