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Administrators at Washington University (WU) in St. Louis are distributing safety whistles to students, after two incidents of armed robbery occurred near the university.
The whistles are meant to “frighten away” would be evil doers, WU spokesman Steven Givens told Campus Reform Wednesday.
“The whistle can signal your need for help, frighten away someone who means harm to you, or alert others to call the police,” said Givens.
The whistles, which cost the university roughly $2,000, are available to students free of charge and represent a “safe” and “non-violent” way to defend against criminals, he added.
“The Defender is shrill, loud, and of very high quality,” said Givens. “It also bears the ‘WU’ insignia.”
WU currently bans firearms on campus, even for individuals who hold a concealed weapon permit.
“[W]e have a university policy prohibiting carrying firearms on campus,” said Givens. “We have no plans to change that policy at this time.”
Kurt Mueller, a spokesman for Students for Concealed Carry, told Campus Reform on Thursday he finds the idea of distributing safety whistles “absurd” and encouraged UW to instead repeal their ban on firearms.
“I have a hard time envisioning how a whistle is going to stop a robbery,” he said. “I don’t even understand the theory they are working with. If the issue is simply calling attention [to a crime], the person can simply scream.”
“I think students who are so inclined [to carry a firearm] should have the right to defend themselves,” Mueller added.
Last Thursday a student was robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight while walking home from the WU campus. On January 21st another individual was robbed of his or her electronics.
Following these incidents, university police advised students to “carry a whistle to summon for help” and “always choose a well lit path” while walking home.
There were also two reports of robbery near the university last semester in the weeks preceding winter break. In one instance, a victim reported being robbed while suspects brandished a handgun and knife. In another, the victim was violently knocked to the ground.
Follow the author of this article on twitter: @oliverdarcy
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