By Katerina Mansour, Staff Writer
Published in print Mar. 17, 2015
The majority of us have received those email and text alerts informing us that a crime has occurred or suspicious behavior is being investigated. From attempted robbery to sexual assault, we’ve passively read over multiple warnings that our safety on campus is endangered. Yet, there is an odd mix of students either angered by the lack of follow-up regarding these warnings or careless in their reaction to these messages. I myself often gloss over text messages warning about individuals being seen armed or suspicious activities taking place on campus. It’s not happening near my apartment building, so why should I care? Of course, I know this logic is flawed, but I still have a hard time feeling as though my safety is threatened here at UNCG.
By looking at crime mapping for the city of Greensboro, one can easily see the number of crimes reported within a certain area of Greensboro over a certain period of time. When looking at a one-mile radius of any UNCG campus address, a significant amount of crimes can be detected. In fact, since January 1st 2015 there have been 149 reported crimes within a one-mile radius of 700 Highland Avenue (Spartan Village). A large amount are alcohol or drug related, however, a significant number are theft, vandalism, burglary, and assault. Our campus is located near some clearly dangerous areas of Greensboro, areas with high crime rates. Therefore, the question as to whether or not we are safe here on campus seems like a valid one to ask.
The UNCG campus police are widely criticized by students. It seems that a large portion of the student body sees them as useless in preventing or obstructing crime. A common complaint seems to be related to the email and text alerts we receive from them. In numerous instances we’ve received warnings about robberies or armed suspects being spotted, yet we never receive alerts regarding what happened to these individuals.
On very rare occasions we are told they were found and apprehended. However, more often than not, we are simply told to go back to our business as they never found the suspects. Realistically speaking we know that not all criminals can be apprehended.
However, one might wonder whether receiving these UNCG campus police alerts create more anxiety than peace of mind or awareness. Knowing about specific threats within our campus is an incredible benefit, but also a reminder of the large amount of criminals within Greensboro that continue to roam free.
It’s far too easy to claim that the UNCG campus policemen need to “work harder” or hire “better” officers to protect us. Campus police vehicles are constantly driving around our area and there is now a newly constructed campus police building right by the underpass on Lee Street. Clearly, our safety is a priority as it should be. I attempted to think of ways to improve our current security system on campus, and honestly could not think of anything that would make a legitimate difference.
The fact is we live in a dangerous world, and the United States, in many ways, is one of the most dangerous countries in it. Though it is comforting to know we have a strong campus police force, the police can’t do all the work for us. We need to take our own precautions to ensure our safety. Ranting or laughing at campus police alerts and only focusing on all the criminals who were never apprehended is not going to get us far.
I learned a lot just by doing research for this article. If you didn’t already know this, the UNCG campus police has an entire page on UNCG’s website filled with very detailed information. Details on crime prevention programs, statistics, and ways to contact them for specific issues you might face. Find these resources and use them. Learn self-defense. Be smart when walking around campus at night. Don’t carry a weapon that you don’t know how to use. Don’t just assume that you’re safe because you believe odds are nothing is going to happen to you.
Have you ever walked around campus at night realizing that if you were to be attacked you would have no idea how to reach the campus police in time? Something as simple as saving their number into our phones is overlooked by many of us. I’m not saying we’re completely helpless children that have no idea how to defend ourselves, but we definitely need to wake up to the fact that at the end of the day, our lives are in our own hands. When we choose to act like we’re invincible we put ourselves at risk.
It seems tedious to always repeat that educating yourself is the key, yet it’s one of the few things we actually have direct control over and that does in fact make a difference. Go into the campus police building and ask to talk to an officer about ways to stay safe on campus.
If you’re concerned about the text message alerts you receive with little to no follow-up, go ask them what happens and question them as to how concerned you should be by those texts. It’s a common theme as University students to see the cops as an “enemy” but it doesn’t take much to realize that they risk their own safety to ensure ours on a daily basis. We may not see it, we may not hear about it, but that does not mean it isn’t the case.
The system is not perfect, we’re always at risk to a certain extent, but without UNCG campus police we would be a lot worse off than some might think. So instead of calling them inadequate or incapable, let’s try to find ways to help them and thus help ourselves at the same time.
Categories: Katerina Mansour, Opinions
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