Many Creighton University students began to move into their dormitories Friday night. Unloading boxes, personal security may be the furthest thing from their minds. But it’s something campus police say no student should take for granted.
It's a record-breaking freshman class of more than 1,000. And they all received a campus alert recently about a Creighton staffer being held up at gunpoint. It happened just before 10:30 p.m. August 21, barely outside of school property on the south side of Burt St., under the Hwy 75 overpass.
A car drove up to the employee who was smoking a cigarette. Two men asked for a light. Then, they pulled out handguns, demanding a cell phone and a wallet. Creighton tells Channel 6 News the employee gave up the items and was not hurt.
Security wasn’t the first thing on the mind of mother Laurel Hanson, who helped her daughter settle in to her dorm. "I'm going to miss my baby,” she said. “I'm not ready for her to be gone."
Her daughter, Katey, is one of 600 or so freshmen that moved in Friday night. "It's kind of scary, but it's exciting. I think it will be a good change, to be on my own," said Katey.
That change comes with a lesson in personal security. It was emphasized during student orientation and driven home when the university sent students an e-mail, detailing the recent armed robbery.
"We've taught her. I think she knows to be prepared, to look around, to know what's in her vicinity. I hope she's smart enough to be aware," said Laurel.
Campus police officer more tips such as having the key card ready when approaching the dorm. They say students should keep their doors locked at all times, even going down the hall. Never open the door to strangers. If students are unsure about someone, they should always ask for identification.
Students are also instructed to walk with a buddy, especially at night. And, if they get in trouble, they can stop at a security pole, many of which are located around campus. With the push of one button, help will be on the way.
For those with cars, parking in well-lit areas is key. Security says it’s best to park away from large vehicles like vans, which could serve as hiding areas. And always check the back seat and floor before getting in.
Katey has a lot to look forward to this coming year. "Just meeting a whole bunch of new people, getting a new experience, a new culture. I don't know, I think it will be fun."
Her mother’s hope is slightly different. “I hope she realizes how much she loves her mother, makes a lot of friends, decides what she wants to do for her future, and realizes how much she appreciates her mother."
The rest of the freshmen move in to Creighton Saturday. For Creighton’s security tips, Click here.
The University of Nebraska-Omaha also issues safety alerts, like the one Creighton sent out recently. For a look at safety tips and information from U.N.O., Click here.