Letter to the Editor
Posted September 23, 2009 at 10:10 pm in Opinion
In his Sept. 18 opinion piece, âUptick in Campus Safety Unnoticed,â Robert Fragoza was ignorant in his opinion of the vast majority of the student population, to say the least. While I admit that I am fervently trying to forget about the $250 fine which I received after biking across an intersection near campus, I think that most students are now well aware of the newly enforced biking laws, as well as the presence of the yellow-jacketed security personnel donned in yellow jackets. Fragozaâs claim was an over-generalization, which I do not believe adequately addressed the root of this particular problem â the continued frustration from students does not stem from a lack of effort by LAPD or the Department of Safety to improve safety, but rather is a disagreement with the ranking of priorities that they have placed in regards to our safety.
The citing of bicyclists is a perfect example of why many students believe LAPD and DPS have inadequately established their priorities. Is the punishment of students who are merely trying to compete with the horrific traffic flow issue at intersections really a better use of time and money than increasing the number of armed security personnel around student housing complexes, especially at night? I believe that many students would make the argument that, in the past, outsiders to the USC community have proved to do more harm to the students than the students have done to themselves. To illustrate this point, let us consider which issue is more severe: a little bumper action between two students in the middle of Jefferson Boulevard and Hoover Street, or a hit-and-run accident at that same location which leaves us with one of our own tragically killed?
I agree with Fragoza that USCâs decrease in the number of crimes and increase in arrests made over the past few years is a positive finding that should not go unrecognized. Certainly, increased safety measures have been effective in reducing more preventative crimes such as personal theft and burglary. However, it is the prevalence of the high-profile crimes that have earned us the reputation as the âUniversity of South Centralâ and that should be of utmost concern. It seems that high-profile crimes in our campus community have not decreased in the slightest, with a shooting, stabbing and hit-and-run accident all taking place in the last year. It is time for the proper authorities to shift their focus off of more trivial matters such as bike safety and hiring unarmed security personnel onto protecting the lives of fellow Trojans.
Fragoza also made the claim that although UCLAâs student population is denser, its per capita crime rate is almost equal to ours. While I think that most Trojans would, in fact, agree that the UCLA Bruins are âdenserâ than we are, are we really about to compare the nature of the crimes most common in Westwood to the events that have occurred in the slums surrounding USC? It is not only irrelevant, but slightly shameful to compare a laboratory accident that killed a UCLA student to the sickening and fatal crimes that have taken the lives of USC students in cold blood. The inherent problem in this comparison surrounds the backdrop of accident versus intent.
The issue of how USC should most effectively place its priorities concerning our safety has yet to been resolved. Hopefully, it will not take one more tragic event or life lost to realize that current safety procedures are simply unsubstantial and improperly directed. Fragoza is correct in saying that old stereotypes can âdie hard,â but it remains the universityâs responsibility to at least âfight onâ âtil the death.