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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Columns

Students need reliable assurance


In the past week, a series of muggings took place along the outskirts of the campus. The suspects were quick.

They looked to swipe wallets and cell phones and had very little discrepancy in using what valuables laid inside. They preyed on the students isolated from campus, whose cars were in far off parking lots.

The economy parking lots are desolate places, often devoid of any human life. The security towers in certain lots, while helpful, only cover a fraction of ground. Here, the student is most vulnerable and least protected.

All of last week’s muggings happened at gunpoint, two out of the three in broad daylight. These assaults have gotten a lot of attention, but they aren’t particularly out of the ordinary. What makes theses crimes significant specifically, is that they were reported.

Statistically the odds that you will be the victim of a campus robbery are low, though certain measures taken can increase or decrease your chances. But it is not the statistics that make people afraid, it’s the simple, tangible fact that this has happened to someone just like you, and the person or people doing this remain uncaught.

UH has more than 200 security guards and around 50 police officers. Roughly 40,000 students attend UH. It’s unreasonable to say law enforcement isn’t doing their job, as many students have said.

UH sits on more than 600 acres, and it would be impossible for their limited number to cover all that at once. And even if they did have a larger force, crime could never be completely prevented.

President Renu Khator issued a press release to assure students they need not be afraid, that there are people hired to track down whoever is responsible and bring them to justice, and that there are now a total of five new patrol officers added to the force. This news is hardly comforting, but the act of an unsure hand.

The chances of the suspects being caught are becoming less-likely with each passing day. The wallets and cellphones have undoubtedly been disposed of and the money’s been spent.

Maybe muggers will realize these robberies are too risky and they’ll stop entirely, but that doesn’t fix the problem. It won’t bring an end to student victimization.

Likewise, these increases in security may prove a temporary solution to a larger problem.

If the muggings decrease, it’s easy to imagine the new precautions dwindling away as the memory of last week’s assaults fades. This act then is not a way to make us safer but a way to make us feel safer for the time being.

Though campus officers are around to prevent as much crime as possible, students can only rely on them so much.

They’re human and don’t have the superhero abilities we’d hope. What is needed is a constant, reliable assurance of protection.

Security cameras or more towers, while costly, give a type of security that may not catch whoever is at large but will offer an environment that’ll help to dissuade future and similar attempts.

Patrick Larose is a creative writing sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]


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