On the beat…Looking out for our community

On a campus like CWRU’s, it can often seem like we are surrounded by all types of technology, ranging from laptops to wind turbines. We are also a campus that makes great use of personal electronic devices such as cell phones and personal music players, which can be observed attached to a number of people walking around campus on any given day.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying a little audio entertainment as you trek across the CWRU tundra in January and February. This is not a new form of entertainment, as some of us who remember battery-powered Walkmans can attest; however, there is a risk of becoming so deeply involved in your electronic world that you don’t pay attention to what is going on around you in the real world.

The term “iPod oblivion” has been coined to describe the accidents created by drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians who are so out-of-tune with their surroundings that they ignore basic traffic safety devices such as stoplights.

This behavior has caused a number of near-misses here on the CWRU campus, usually involving inattentive pedestrians. There was even a Hilton Head incident in 2010 in which a jogger listening to his iPod was struck and killed by an airplane making an emergency landing that he apparently did not hear coming.

This is an extreme example, but the central problem happens here at CWRU as well: inattentive students sometimes launch themselves into the street without regard to traffic conditions or traffic signals.

The second danger of tuning out from your surroundings involves crime, specifically robbery. Having headphones in can mark you as an easy target, just as being heavily intoxicated can. Not having a device is no guarantee of safety, but if you cannot hear what is going on behind you or are not paying attention to what is happening in front of you, the odds are not in your favor. Enjoy your music, but keep one eye on the road.