Home Education Opinion: Campus Safety Needs to be a Priority

Opinion: Campus Safety Needs to be a Priority

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The recent school shooting at USC has been quite unsettling. Though USC resides in a crime filled area, the fact that the crime affected the college is hard to accept.

None of the students involved in the shooting attended USC, but USC has had the same issue before. In 2008, USC sprinter and now Olympic medalist, Bryshon Nellum was shot three times during a Halloween party. In April, two graduate students were shot and killed during a ‘botched robbery’ a few miles from campus. In fact, most people living around the campus of USC make less than $20,000 per year. Over the past six months, there have been 234 incidents of crime in Adams-Normandie, a neighborhood surrounding USC. Seventy seven of these were violent crimes; one murder, two rapes, 25 assault cases and 49 robbery cases. This neighborhood ranks 28 of 209 neighborhoods for violent crimes. University Park, a vital part of USC’s campus, has seen 52 violent crimes this year. Exposition Park, a neighborhood to the south of USC, has racked up 196 violent crimes in the last six months and is ranked 18 of 209 for violent crimes. Even worse, to the east of campus, Historic South-Central experienced 274 violent crimes in the past six months. With all of this crime around USC I would expect the campus to try to be as safe as possible, and I believe it has been. Though USC’s campus is a bit extreme when compared to OU’s, is Ohio University still prone to crimes like the one?

The neighborhoods surrounding campus consist mostly of college students. There are a few families and elderly people who live near campus as well, but for the most part, it’s filled with people who are unlikely to commit crimes (especially violent ones). Ohio University Chief of Police Andrew Powers claims, “The most common crime that a student is most likely to become a victim of is theft.” College students typically don’t have enough money for things, so many of them steal an item that they would like, or steal in order to attain money for something they would like to buy. But burglaries and thefts have gone down in the past two years, from 68 in 2009 to 21 in 2011. Sex offenses are often an issue on campuses as well, but how does OU rank in that category? 12 sex offenses were experienced in 2010, but in 2011 that number shrank to eight. Many argue that just because the number of sex offenses fell doesn’t mean crimes are not happening. Though I tend to agree, I also feel that this campus is very safe. Ohio University has blue-light emergency telephones located all over campus, they offer Rape Defense Training, and we now have an emergency text message system for students, a SAFE-T patrol team and much more.

Though many would agree Ohio University is safe, along with universities across the country, I still can’t help but feel a bit vulnerable; if someone would like to bring a gun on campus and randomly shoot a group of people, who could stop them? With incidents like Virginia Tech, Delaware State University, the University of Memphis and now USC, we should at least look into trying to make campuses safer and less prone to shootings.

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