Emergency phones rarely used for emergencies

Emergency phones rarely used for emergencies

March 03
03:46 2016

Tiffany Ditto | Staff Writer

@TiffanyDitto

Emergency phones on campus are seldom used for emergencies, according to reports from 2012 and 2016 by the UNT Police Department.

Every three years the UNT police public information officer must determine the level of demand for emergency phones on and around campus.

In a 2016 report conducted by community relations officer Kevin Crawford, the police found 64 of the department’s 24,600 incidents handled by the campus police communications center were initiated from the box phones.

Crawford said four of those 64 incidents were for service needed and only one was an actual emergency.  The calls for service were categorized as non-emergency, such as people needing information, security escorts or directions. The other 60 incidents officers responded to the calls and found no one there upon arrival.

“Over time more people have started using cell phones more to contact us,” Crawford said. “When we talk about accessibility, if a student’s cell phone dies we want them to have that as a means to contact us.”

UNT currently has 69 emergency phones located across campus. These phones are green with a blue light on the top and each has a red emergency button that can be pushed to call the police.

In a 2012 report, completed by then community relations officer John DeLong, showed 20,982 incidents dealt with by the UNT communications center. Of those, 276 calls were initiated from emergency phones. Police said 17 were calls for service and only four calls were for emergency situations.

The 2012 report details these four calls for a mentally ill individual, a possible assaulted person, a person with a knife and a medical emergency. There were 79 call boxes on campus when the study was conducted.

At the end of each report, Crawford and DeLong explained that campus emergency phones are not being utilized for many campus emergencies. They both said, however, that these towers are all in visible, accessible locations in case someone was to need them.

“If we can make one student safer by giving them means to contact us, then were going what we’re supposed to,” Crawford said.

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