Students walk past a blue emergency phone pole in SF State’s Garden of Remembrance on Dec. 7, 2022. These emergency phones, which are placed around campus call campus police when the button is pushed. (Juliana Yamada / Golden Gate Xpress) (Juliana Yamada)
Students walk past a blue emergency phone pole in SF State’s Garden of Remembrance on Dec. 7, 2022. These emergency phones, which are placed around campus call campus police when the button is pushed. (Juliana Yamada / Golden Gate Xpress)

Juliana Yamada

SF State students reflect on campus safety

There are multiple campus resources to help combat crime, such as emergency phones and the SafeWalk service, but students still have mixed feelings about safety.

December 7, 2022

SF State is nearly pitch black by 6 p.m. except for the illuminating blue emergency phone poles that are scattered across campus. 

Over 50 emergency phones are installed and with the push of a button, you are able to reach the University Police Department. 

“When someone utilizes any of the blue phones around campus, it is categorized as a 910,” said UPD Lieutenant James Callaghan. “The code 910 indicates that a well-being check is requested.” 

According to Callaghan, response times vary, but officers typically respond within two to seven minutes. The phones are used an average of 15 times a month and in most cases, there is “no merit” to an emergency. 

“I believe [the blue phones] are an important feature and tool that not only provide an extra layer of safety but peace of mind for our community as they make their way through the campus community,” Callaghan said.

Exchange student and senior at SF State Paul Schaefer works at University Park North and stays on campus past sundown at least every other day. He typically stays on campus late to use the gym, library and get food. 

“I feel extremely safe,” Schaefer said. “We have, in my opinion, way too much staff here that are just employed for no reason — sitting around picking their nose.” 

Student assistant Dili Mulati stays on campus until 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. most days. Mulati said she often feels uneasy walking around campus after dark. 

“I do feel kinda unsafe because there’s really no one here,” Mulati said.

Mulati said that one of her friends was followed while heading to their car. Her friend called UPD’s SafeWalk service but they never picked up. 

“Yeah they never picked up; she never got a safe walk,” Mulati said.

SafeWalk is a 24/7 service provided by the UPD that gives the campus community the opportunity to request an escort anywhere on campus, as well as some surrounding areas. This includes campus buildings, the dorms and parking lots. Off-campus areas include Park Merced and  parked vehicles along Junipero Serra, Font and Lake Merced boulevards.

The service aims to reduce the chance of targeted crime. 

SF State’s campus police say it takes about 15 minutes to respond to a SafeWalk request. 

Xpress audited the service and found that a representative responded in about 10 minutes.

To request SafeWalk, students can call 415-338-7200, then press 0. A mobility transport can also be requested through this number for individuals with temporary and permanent disabilities. 

According to this year’s Annual Security Report, domestic violence, stalking and fondling cases on campus had risen in 2021. In 2020, there were no reported cases of these crimes. 

“I believe that, like everything else, the COVID-19 pandemic experience has had an impact on criminal activity and mental health crisis incidents, which could account for any spike,” Callaghan said.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Jenna Mandarano
Jenna Mandarano, Campus Editor
Jenna Mandarano (she/her) is this semester's campus editor for Golden Gate Xpress, where she previously was a staff reporter. She is a fourth-year journalism major and business administration minor who anticipates graduating this coming May. The Bay Area is where she was born and raised, and she has no plans on leaving anytime soon. Aside from being a journalist, she loves going to concerts, watching professional sports and expanding her constantly growing Lego collection that she is also struggling to find space for.
Photo of Zackery Stehr
Zackery Stehr, Campus Editor
Zackery Stehr (he/him/they) is one of the campus editors for the Golden Gate Xpress. He is a journalism major and is minoring in labor studies. Zackery was born and raised in Sacramento and currently lives in Oakland, California. Zackery previously worked for Sac City Express, the student news outlet for Sacramento City College. Zackery enjoys writing about politics, pop culture and fashion, and hopes to have a career writing about these interests.
Photo of Juliana Yamada
Juliana Yamada, Visuals Editor
Juliana Yamada (she/her) is a Japanese American photojournalist with a passion for storytelling through her photos of underrepresented communities, as well as life in San Francisco. Juliana loves that journalism can help others learn more about each other, and she hopes to further that through her photos. In her free time, you can find Juliana at the thrift store, trying new restaurants or taking care of her many houseplants.

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