Students need better warning about shootings

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.

And because USC’s Dept. of Public Safety never issued a Trojans Alert, those students were never given an easy way to get answers to the array of questions raised by the sound of gunfire.

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.

9 replies
  1. sc student
    sc student says:

    This is hardly the first time dps has refused to tell us about pertinent neighborhood happenings. Yes, we’re students. Yes the event was not involving students. But more importantly, we all live in the same area and interact with non-students very frequently. Incidents like these are relevant to us!

    DPS you stand by and watch enough as it is right now, so please step it up and at least tell us what’s going on where we live! That way at least we can protect ourselves since it’s clear that you won’t do it for us.

    – annoyed

  2. Anon
    Anon says:

    Don’t worry…. if you’re at USC long enough, you’ll experience more wonderful DPS moments like this.

    Case in point? I was stalked by a fellow student in my freshman year. While going through the official process and setting up a meeting with DPS, my stalker found out and decided to call the emergency line and say that I was threatening him. Guess who wouldn’t listen to me when my official meeting came around, and told me that I would face punishment if I “threatened” him again?

    Needless to say, their actions in this incident don’t surprise me at all.

  3. Student
    Student says:

    DPS is USELESS! They are supposed to be here for “PUBLIC SAFETY,” yet when a violent crime happens 2 blocks away from my apartment, the only way I hear about it is from other students, not the people who are supposed to be looking out for our safety. Simply pathetic!

  4. SC student
    SC student says:

    yes, DPS should have sent out an alert to students. Finding out the next morning about a shooting that occurred at a nearby street is unacceptable.

  5. Pam Powell
    Pam Powell says:

    From a USC parent:
    Recent calls to USC regarding concern about off campus housing for upcoming sophomores are “dissed”. Is it any wonder why we are concerned? If DPS can’t alert our students, they are sitting ducks. L.A. is not the safest place for our students.

  6. Parent of USC student
    Parent of USC student says:

    My son called me immediately after he heard the shots, which occured just two houses away. I was stunned and very worried, of course, and then very angry that there was not a Trojan Alert to let us know he was safe. How did any of us know the gunman wasn’t still in the neighborhood? How did we know there wasn’t going to be a response from the victim’s friends? Better to err on the side of too much information!

      • Nother SC parent
        Nother SC parent says:

        So do you work for DPS, are related to someone who works for DPS or just think this is a humorous topic?
        DPS has been inadequate and non-resonsive (n any meaningful way) for all six years that I’ve had students here. Time for a change.

  7. An SC Parent
    An SC Parent says:

    DPS really dropped the ball on this one. We get Trojan alerts about power outages and earthquake drills, but not about a shooting in an area where most of the student population lives? Totally irresponsible!

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