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Safety concerns spur students to look for self-defense options

Students can use the LiveSafe app and University self-defense courses to stay safe


ASU biomedical engineering junior Maria Roman poses for a photo illustration taken on Monday, April 17, 2017 depicting a female student holding pepper spray.

Recent robberies and an increased amount of reported sexual violence on campus in the past year may have students looking for legal, efficient ways to protect themselves. 

A rise in reported sexual violence was covered in the University's annual crime report, which details the statistics of crime reported on campus during the past year. According to the Clery report, 11 robberies occurred between the four main campuses in 2016.

Read More: University’s annual crime report: sexual violence increases on campus

Jordan Bedolfe, a psychology sophomore, said that he’s never had a problem on campus or the surrounding areas but agrees that all students might not feel that way.

"Don’t travel alone, if you’re really scared, bring some pepper spray," he said.

But not researching what self-defense items are permitted on campus may lead to trouble for some students if their method of protection puts them in violation of University policy.

According to the ASU Police Department manual, possession, use and storage of any weapon, and explosive devices or fireworks are prohibited on all University property including affiliated entities, University sponsored activities, residential facilities and ASU vehicles.

Acceptable items listed in this policy are knives with blades that are less than 5 inches long and chemical repellents, like pepper spray. The chemical repellents may not be labelled "for police use only" or "for law enforcement use only."

Genetics, cell and developmental biology senior Britney Tillis said her biggest safety concerns come when she’s walking at night.

"If it’s at night, and I’m by myself I usually have my music low and one headphone out," Tillis said. "... At night is when most of this stuff happens, there’s not going to be a lot of stuff that happens during the day just because the amount of students that are on campus."

Tillis also said she sees a lot of campus officers during the day and that there needs to be more officers present on campus at night.

The University provides several online resources for the education and safety of all students as well as the students who live on campus.

An app called ASU LiveSafe allows students to contact police and safety services from their phones, request safety escorts and chat live with emergency contacts through SafeWalk, a part of the LiveSafe app.

Students can also receive alerts and information about on-campus crime by following the ASU Police Department on Facebook or Twitter.

The University also provides free self-defenses courses women and men called Rape Aggression Defense Systems. According to the Self-Defense Courses website, these courses aim to teach realistic self-defense techniques and should not be considered a martial arts program.

Read More: Every ASU student should take a self-defense class

Kelsea Evraets, a junior in biochemistry, said there’s not enough awareness of the R.A.D. courses, and she wants to see it publicized more.

"They have so many signs on campus about studying abroad but not many about this," Evraets said.

Evraets also said that she also feels like the University should open up more opportunities for interested students to register for RAD classes.

Some local resources for self-defense training include REACT Defense Systems, Arizona BJJ and EVKM Self Defense and Fitness.

ASU PD declined to be interviewed for this story. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @jennaleeneff on Twitter. 

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