Students are back enjoying the night life of Five Points almost two weeks after USC student Samantha Josephson’s death – but some things have changed.
Maxwell Ward, a junior at USC, says he has noticed a change in the atmosphere since Josephson was kidnapped and murdered after she got into a car she believed was an Uber.
“I think people have stopped coming out a little bit. Some people are scared. They have been followed before. It’s weird and scary, and you know it’s just kind of screwed up there are people out there who would do that,” he said.
Not only has the atmosphere changed, but students are taking extra precautions to be safer while going out. Mariel Nash, a freshman at USC who says she thinks students are all more aware, is taking her own safety measures.
“I recently purchased pepper spray to keep on me and I always carry this lanyard everywhere,” Nash said.
When it comes to getting home safe from Five Points, students are relying on alternative options beside Uber and Lyft.
Shairell Gadson, a Columbia resident, says she has taken many Ubers in the past, but now has different plans. “I’m not taking Ubers or Lyfts. I’m having a friend pick me up to get home safe,” she said.
Ward chooses to walk home, but he now takes an extra step to ensure he is safe. “After what happened I think that every time I am walking home I call somebody and I make sure that I am talking to them all the way home,” Ward said.
Although the crowds are back in Five Points, students say safety throughout the night is at the top of their minds.