Mass shootings shape campus safety

Mass shootings have gained national attention after several tragic events occurred over the course of the last year. Just last week, another shooting happened in D.C., and Deseret News reported that a total of 16 shootings have occurred in 2013 alone.

Because many of these shootings have taken place on school campuses across the nation, students may be wondering what they should do in the event of an active shooter on USM’s campus.

University Police Department Chief Bob Hopkins has assured students that there are several procedures and plans in place at Southern Miss to respond to shootings. He stressed that students should be aware of preparation steps and Eagle Alert notifications.

Students can prepare by visiting the University Police web page on Southern Miss’ website and watching the active threat video. It shows students how to respond to a shooter and gives tools to lessen the situation.

If students can get out of the building, they should exit as quickly as possible without drawing attention. If there is no exit route, students should barricade their classroom door, turn the lights off and hide. In the event that students are not able to do either of these, the only choice may be to attack the shooter.

Eagle Alerts offer up-to-date information, tell students what areas to avoid and where to seek shelter.

Campus police officers encourage communication from students. Past events have shown that active shooters plan extensively, and they will usually talk about their plans or give an indication of what they’re planning. Students should be aware and communicate with campus police if they witness something suspicious.

“So many situations have been stopped because of this,” Hopkins said. “Prevention is just as important as knowing how to respond.”