By Dalton Tevlin
Put yourself in this situation: It is 1:05 a.m. on a Tuesday night and you are walking to panther garage six alone from the Green Library after a long study session.
Most students, especially women would say that walking to your car at night can be a pretty terrifying experience.
In a poll of 200 students at the University, with 100 women and 100 men, it showed that 96 percent of females said they felt pretty scared walking to their cars alone at night, opposed to just 64 percent for males.
54 of the women that said they were frightful of parking garages said that panther garage was by far the scariest to face in the late night.
With Florida International University being a commuter school, there are thousands of students driving in and out of campus each day.
There is a ton of parking available around campus and for the most part they feel pretty safe. Other parking locations however, have students worried as they are walking to their car at night.
Shuttle services on campus are available on class days Monday through Friday only from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Panther garage is pretty far off from the rest of campus and there is not much lighting to give students a safe feeling environment as they go to their cars.
Danielle Kallergis, a sophomore and psychology major, says she regularly has to deal with parking in panther garage and it can be a bit unnerving.
“Especially late at night, around 11-12 o’clock, it gets pretty scary. You never really know what could happen on that walk,” said Kallergis.
Many students felt that more sufficient lighting would bold well for the safeness of parking garages.
“I feel if it was a bit brighter during nighttime, it would make everyone feel 10x safer, especially around lot 5 and Panther Garage.” said Alberto Lionarons, a freshman and political science major.
In the poll, students felt safest walking to the blue and gold garage near the Graham Center.
However, on July 13, 2017, there was a reported incident of assault in the gold garage.
With only 64 percent of males said they felt fear when going to their car at night. While that is still the majority it is far less than the female percentage.
“Of course it is a bit scary but there isn’t any real fear like the fear females have when they are walking to their cars,” said sophomore and psychology major, Courtney Robinson.
Rates of assault and sexual assault towards females are much higher than males so naturally their fear of walking to their car’s alone is much more elevated.
While we may be on a college campus, there is still risk of potential assault in these parking garages. According to FIU Police Department, incident reports for 2017 there were 24 reported assaults, six of which occured in a parking garage or lot. One in Panther Garage, two in PG5, two in Lot 6 and one in Gold.
Those are alarmingly high rates considering the low amount of assaults that took place last year.
A quarter of the assaults that took place on campus last year happened in parking areas. While these assaults may not have all been assaults on students walking to their cars, it does speak to a certain level of non-safety in the parking areas.
After speaking with the FIU Police Department, students who feel unsafe about walking to their cars late at night are encouraged to call the FIUPD and they will send an officer to help escort you safely.
While this service has always been provided, many students are unaware that police escorts are available to them. Junior Finance major Joseph Gucovschi says that more advertisement of this service could greatly benefit students.
“If around ever parking area there was a sign that says ‘police escort available,’ I think it would increase awareness and overall safety of students” said Gucovschi.
You can contact FIUPD at (305)-348-2626.
Photo retrieved by Flickr.