Self-defense has become a priority during the transition to college, serving as a rude awakening to students.
UCF Police Department Officer Pete Stephens has been in his field for 28 years with the last three at the university. He said there are numerous resources available to students if they feel unsafe on or off-campus.
“Students can carry pepper spray, as long as it is in canisters of less than 2 ounces,” Stephens said. “[They] may also wish to carry key chains with whistles and a safety light.”
Stephens said the UCF police department has ordered self-defense and hopes to have them available for distribution to the university community. When it comes to students defending themselves on campus, he also recommended walking with a buddy if at all possible. “Be sure to note the locations of blue light phones that connect directly to the police department while you are traversing campus,” Stephens said. Katelyn Stiller, a 22-year-old senior studying psychology, always carries her pepper spray key chain with her. “It makes me feel safer carrying it with me, especially at night when I’m alone. Being only 5 feet tall, I don’t have much of a defense, so the pepper spray is reassuring to have,” Stiller said. “I think living alone in Orlando can be scary, and you need to have some form of defense — not necessarily a gun, but something.”
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