Students heed safety warnings after attack

Published 8:44 pm Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lydia Mitrevski, a broadcast journalism major at Troy University, has taken to heart the advice given by university authorities in the wake of an off-campus attack of a co-ed earlier this week.

“They pretty much gave us a warning to be aware of our surroundings, especially at night,” Mitrevski said.

“And, because (the attack) was so close to campus, they’re making sure that the residents around the area are aware of their surroundings as well,” she added.

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Police are still searching the man who abducted a 20-year-old student from her Smith Street home shortly after 9:30 p.m. Monday and brutally beat and stabbed her before abandoning her on a remote section of a county road in the Needmore community. The woman is recovering in a Montgomery hospital.

With the emphasis on situational awareness, Mitrevski sayid university authorities have suggested the use of a buddy system to reduce the likelihood of another assault.

In addition to adhering to safety advice from the university, Mitrevski and others have taken additional steps to ensure their security.

“Now, I’m making absolutely sure to lock the doors at my house and even know of a few people that have had their locks changed,” she said.

“Stuff like this just doesn’t happen that often around here, so people are being as aware as they can,” she added.

Zee Hall, a music industry major, is concerned about personal safety as well.

“I’m a music student, and music students usually stay together,” Hall said.

“I normally stay around populated areas anyway, because if something were to happen I’d want to be somewhere where others would notice it,” she added.

Hall echoed Mitrevski, saying that she and her friends are employing a keen sense of situational awareness since hearing of the attack.

“My friends that live on campus are trying to implement the rule of not letting anybody into their dorm rooms that they don’t know and are just trying to be more aware of what’s going on around them,” Hall said.

Troy Police have urged students and Troy residents to err on the side of safety and caution, including encouraging resident to call 911 if they see suspicous individuals; hear unexpected knocks at their doors during the evening or night; or simply fiind themselves in a situation that is uncomfortable.

Both Mitrevski and Hall had mixed reactions to the attack, but both agreed that they were disgusted with the perpetrator.

“I was extremely upset, because I didn’t know why someone would ever do that to another person,” Hall said.

“I know this student to be an outstanding and incredibly sweet person,” Hall added, “I just felt so bad that something like this happened to such a great person.”

When something of this magnitude happens close to home, prayer is a common comfort.

“There have been prayer services for the student offered by the different campus ministries and people continue to pray for a full recovery, both physically and emotionally,” said Mitrevski, “She’s not only in my prayers, but in many other people’s prayers as well and they’re all hoping for a safe and speedy recovery.”