News of an arrest has made students at South Dakota State University feel a little safer. Many were on edge and heeded the warning not to walk alone after dark, but even with a suspect in custody, students say they'll continue to be cautious on campus.
After spending every night calling friends and planning walks in groups, students at SDSU are breathing a little easier. We caught up with four women who say while they feel safer, they're using the crimes as a constant reminder to protect themselves.
“Glad they finally caught him because last night I was thinking how could they not catch him, talking with my roommate and today that's great, feel a little safer,” freshman Amanda Bursack said.
Those feelings are being shared all around campus Wednesday as students learn of an arrest in a series of crimes that happened to two of their co-eds. For the past few weeks, these women have been forced to change their routines and keep their guard up for anything they might consider dangerous.
“I was constantly watching my surroundings and going out in pairs,” senior Andrea Kuehl said.
“My mom was always telling me to make sure you walk with somebody and try to get in before dark,” freshman Kati Slagle said.
Between the University Police Department offering an escort service for students who might be walking at night and not have someone to walk with, sending out emails to keep all the students informed of the situation and posting flyers to let students know when the assailant was caught, students say SDSU did a good job in helping them feel little bit safer.
“Gave us a sense that they cared and wondering about us and telling us about it,” freshman Tara Heiser said.
While these women feel better about stepping outside and walking from their dorms, they're keeping the victims in mind as a reminder to take precautions in the future.
“It's just one person, doesn't mean it can't happen again so just keep it in mind,” Slagle said.
Officials with the Brookings police department say just because a man is behind bars, doesn't mean you should let your guard down. They're still urging everyone to be cautious when out after dark.