HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM)- The rape of a 21-year-old college student at her apartment in Hattiesburg earlier this month has put renewed attention on the importance of taking steps to ensure personal safety.
Police officials said such crimes are not common in the Hub City. However, authorities do want people to exercise caution rather than fear.
Sergeant Synarus Green with the Hattiesburg Police Department said the public, and in particular, college students, should be aware of several safety tips to reduce their chances of becoming a crime victim.
"If you are leaving your residence, going to your car. There are times when it is late or extremely early in the morning when it is dark. To kind of have a routine with somebody that can keep in communication with you," said Green. "So if there is a time shift, and you are not where you said you were going to be that somebody is going to be looking out for you."
Another suggestion is to walk in a group late at night. Also, there are a variety of products available to help you ward off a would be attacker like pepper spray, a taser or a stun gun. But Green said people need to be careful when using them.
"If you decide you want to get some type product to protect yourself. Just practice and prepare yourself in advance in the event you do have to use it so your assailant or somebody who is trying to commit a crime against you can't use that against you while you are trying to protect your self," said Green.
There are less dangerous options folks can use like a body siren or even a whistle. Green says you can yell to draw attention your plight and call 911. He also said to be aware of people around you who may be lurking in dark areas. Sergeant Green says people can always call the police and have an officer check out the situation.