If crime is up, so should awareness

Karey Harrigan
Opinion Writer

The public tends to see crime as a black and white issue, it is simply right or wrong, victim versus criminal. Instead, maybe the best way to be able to help prevent crime is to understand there is a gray area as well. We can’t control a criminal’s intent but something we may have the ability to change is whether or not we become the target. Because of the spike of robberies and offenses that have left VCU’s students as victims, we need to take in to consideration what we are doing to allow ourselves to become vulnerable to these crimes.
Two years ago, Virginia Commonwealth University was able to argue that despite the university’s place in an urban setting, it was capable of separating itself from its environment with its low level of crime, even in comparison to suburban or rural universities. Instead, this semester a string of robberies reaching up to five separate incidents in a two-week time frame has helped to strip away VCU’s title as Virginia’s safest school. VCU was a university that students used to feel was exempt from the violence other schools have been experiencing. Now with its rise in crime numbers, it has potential to be a part of that group.
VCU police are serving in an area of high demand since Richmond is well-known for its position on a list of The Nation’s most dangerous cities. According to Crime Statistics, The murder rate in the city is over six times the national average, and its robbery is almost three times as much. With these type of surroundings students are constantly urged to never walk alone, travel in groups and stay in well lit areas. Yet students still walk home alone at times when infractions are at their peak, walk with headphones on after dark, and stray into areas recognized for their violence. These careless actions make students unaware to any forewarning, allowing themselves to become open to the type of robbery and assaults that have become apparent on our campus.
VCU Police Chief John Venuti explains; “Criminals are tempted to come to areas that are close to campus because they think students have items of value. When a crime occurs we respond rapidly and aggressively to deter crime. We will continue to do this each and every time.” Although we are promised this safety at VCU, ignorance to your surroundings or disbelief that this can be you is only an excuse to become the victim.
With security up and alerts sent out, students understand their safety is valued regardless of the negative impact that criminals have had on the campus in recent weeks. Criminals and crimes are inevitable, so it’s important to understand that the choices and precautions you take separate you from being a casualty.

1 Comment

  1. I think we need to concentrate on why robberies happen and not how to protect ourselves from them. Do you think people just risk jail time and injury for fun? I don’t. I think robberies happen because lower-class people, like many people throughout the US and the world, are having trouble finding work and financial stability. Of course, some people have only themselves to blame for their position in life, but not everyone. There are many factors that are well out of the control of the individual which quite often lead to their financial troubles.

    Everyone cries about helping the middle class. But what about the working class? If you help them get on their feet, then I’m sure crime will decrease because less people will feel they need to rob someone to pay for whatever.

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