By Kiet Do

HAYWARD (KPIX 5) — A nationwide uptick in campus robberies and sexual assaults have one east bay university thinking outside the box to protect their students.

CSU East Bay just bought 5,000 Robocopp personal alarms to hand out free to students, making them the first college campus to do so.

The idea is simple – if someone’s attacking you, pull the keychain to turn on the painful, earsplitting sound.

It goes for 30 minutes, or until you plug the key back in.

“The bad guy wants to get away. And we can bring some attention and the bad guy and the potential victim, that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to create a buffer and give them a chance to not be a victim,” Desi Calzada with CSU East Bay’s Police Department said.

Remember the old rape whistles? The problem is that you can’t blow it, and yell for help at the same time.

And, while pepper spray is effective, university police say it can blow back in your face, or get it all over your hands and accidentally rub it in your eyes during an attack.

“The problem with pepper spray is that if you don’t know how to use it well, you’re in a panic, this is a time you’re going to use it, it’s one of those things that can work against as much as it can work for you,” Calzada said.

The police, student housing officials, and the risk management department are handing them out – mostly to freshmen living on their own for the first time.

Young female students said it’s a great idea that hopefully, they will never have to use.

“I think this will catch people’s attention,” Freshman Esmerelda Sanchez said.

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