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SafeRide experiences record-high use after recent sexual assault near campus

SafeRide+experiences+record-high+use+after+recent+sexual+assault+near+campus

After a recent string of sexual assaults and an abduction attempt near the University of Arizona, an increased number of students choose to take advantage of the free nightly ride service offered by Associated Students of the University of Arizona.

Racheal Odell, administrative director of SafeRide, said the number of safe rides has nearly doubled from last semester’s average high of 150 a day.

“We have seen highs of 250. That’s about our average now,” said Ben Frieden, SafeRide’s operations director. “It’s been more difficult to keep up with it, but we are doing the best we can.”

A rape was reported near Adams Street and Fremont Avenue earlier this year, just a few blocks away from the UA campus.

SafeRide already expanded its radius for pickup and drop off requests, however, it is not planning to expand operation hours to the weekend.

“We operate Monday to Thursday 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m,, and Friday 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.,” Odell said. “We don’t think we are going to expand our days just because it is a university service and we focus on operating when school is in session.”

Students can use SafeRide by downloading the TripShot app. It will allow students to request a ride from anywhere on campus, and a 1.5 mile radius off-campus. The service also offers rides to and from the El Con Mall and the Cottages at Tucson.

Apart from their homes, students can request rides to supermarkets and dining places. Courtesy of ASUA SafeRide

“We have nine vehicles provided by the university, and all of our drivers are student drivers,” Odell said.

The demand for night transportation near or on campus also has increased, pushing up the demand for the UAPD’s lesser-known driving escort service.

UAPD Sergeant Andrew Valenzuela said the service is available “outside of the SafeRide operation hours or during the holiday breaks” for students on campus.

“If you’re on campus, you find yourself needing some type of escort, call our non-emergency number 520-621-8273,” he said. “If an officer or other staff member is available, we’ll come pick you up, or we’ll walk you to your destination on campus.”

Even though Valenzuela thinks the UA campus is safe at night, he said students should stay present and pay attention to their surroundings.

“When walking home alone, no matter how you identify as male and female, you can become a crime victim,” he said. “Save those text messages, save that social media post for later, or at least for a time when you get to where you can engage with that activity in a safe way.”

UAPD operates 24 hours a day year-round. For non-emergencies including escort assistance, call 520-621-8273.


Arizona Sonoran News is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism. 


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