Students at a party on 29th Street on Friday night hit the ground when they heard gunshots fired around 12:30 a.m. They didn’t know what was happening or if they were safe.
DPS officials said they chose not to send out a Trojans Alert because there was no USC involvement in the shooting, which involved a non-USC male who had been attending a non-USC party.
That decision, however, fails to consider the large number of students who live in the 29th Street area and who walk down 29th on a Friday night. It is irresponsible of DPS not to have done everything it could to inform students of a serious crime in the area.
Although the incident did not involve the university, there is no way students who were in the area at the time could have known that.
Even students who didn’t hear the gunshots noticed the heavy police presence and heard the helicopters overhead. Many wondered what had happened, but they didn’t have access to the information they needed. A Trojans Alert could have reassured students they were not in danger.
Additionally, whenever someone is shot, it would be prudent for DPS to alert students, especially when the shooter is not immediately apprehended.
One student, concerned by the sounds of gunshots and helicopters, said she called DPS and was advised to stay inside. If they were telling students who called not to go outside, why not tell the whole university community?
Admittedly, every Trojans Alert runs the risk of causing unwarranted panic. Nonetheless, student safety is paramount, and it must be the first — and only — consideration for DPS.
Students should have received one Trojans Alert immediately saying there had been a shooting, and one later indicating the scene had been cleared and it was safe to walk down 29th Street.
Though no one involved in the shooting was affiliated with the university, the fact that it happened in an area where the majority of residents are students makes the incident USC-related, and students deserve to be informed.