West side students say security still falls short

The recent off-campus shooting has caused increased student concern over security west of Vermont Avenue, even after the university added an estimated $3 million in increased security to the area last spring.

Safety · The security measures, implemented last spring, were the university’s first effort to bring security ambassadors and cameras to the area west of Vermont Avenue. - Daily Trojan file photo

Last Sunday two USC students were shot off-campus on the 1200 block of West 37th Place. The two students were hospitalized but are expected to fully recover. The suspect has not been caught.

Seventy-two video patrol cameras, 50 license plate recognition cameras and 13 new security ambassadors were added to the area to better protect students and residents living west of Vermont Avenue, said to Dept. of Public Safety Chief Carey Drayton.

The area west of campus was only patrolled regularly by DPS before last year’s update.

Despite the recent addition of security ambassadors and cameras, many students on the west side of campus said they still do not feel safe in the area.

“The university pays the least attention to this area,” said Sullivan Brown, a junior majoring in animation and digital art who lives on the 1200 block of West 37th Place. “It’s because this is one of the few areas around campus where more locals live in the area than students.”

Brown said he has noticed the new security cameras placed throughout the west side of campus and the presence of yellow jacket security officers but said it was not enough to keep the west side of campus safe.

“The yellow jacket watchers have not been proactive,” Brown said. “Adding security cameras and yellow jackets to the area is clearly not enough to keep us safe.”

Local residents living near where the shooting occurred expressed dissatisfaction with security in the area.

“The [DPS] patrols definitely lack on the west side of campus,” said Oscar Hernandez, a 13-year resident of West 37th Place. “The cameras seem to work but the [DPS] patrols aren’t on this side of campus [very often].”

Wesley Houng, a graduate student studying mechanical engineering who lives on the north side of campus, said he frequently visits the west side and that the area around West 37th Place is not as safe as the area north of campus.

“I don’t really feel protected [on the west side],” Houng said. “There is more of a police presence to the north of campus.”

Vice President of Student Affairs Michael L. Jackson said the best way for students to stay safe is to assist DPS in its efforts to keep the area surrounding USC secure.

“We encourage students to take precautions and take note of suspicious behavior they see,” Jackson said.

DPS Capt. David Carlisle said students play a direct role in their own safety.

“There’s always a problem when there’s a private party in a private residence,” Carlisle said. “And [DPS] can’t help those inside [the residence].”

4 replies

    It so funny to me that when DPS does something “bad” in students eyes, they have 20 comments regarding the matter, but when they actually do something good as in catching a criminal THERE ARE NO COMMENTS. Oh and by the way USC housing suggest that you live north of USC, everyone knows that west of USC is not the best area, so why would you put yourself in that type of situation to begin with then expect DPS to be sitting outside your door every time you leave home. I personally called regarding this article. DPS told me that they have a minimum of 2 officers patrolling the area at all times. Plus CSC there until 2am. They also just installed cameras in most of the intersections west of USC. What more do you want! The fact that the DP only interviewed 2 people and one lives in the area is really disturbing to me. How about you DT, drive around the area and see how the security is yourself.

    As much as people complain about their safety it seems that most of the person crimes that occur is due to the students lack of personal responsibility. Walking alone at 2am from class, leaving their computer unattended in a computer lab while you leave for 2 hours and hopes that it will still be their when you get back, getting so drunk that you leave your friends and try and find your way home. (even though there is a tram that takes you home from 6pm-3am and cruiser that runs until 6am). Walking with your cell phone in your hands not paying attention to your surroundings. Letting people in to your party that you don’t know, getting so drunk that your passed out in someones yard. Take some responsibility for your own actions, for your own safety.

    DPS is there to ensure that we have a safe and fun 4 years of college here at USC! Their the first people that we blame when something is not going our way or we are not satisfied with a situation that we usually put ourselves into, but the first people we call for help. How about showing them a little more respect for the jobs that their doing. I want to thank them for the jobs that they are doing. And I think that you reading this should too.

  2. viktor
    viktor says:

    The “west side” gets a lot of crap from students, and it’s sad to see that the Daily Trojan has jumped on the bandwagon as well. Nikias announced the new security last spring, but said it wouldn’t be in place until the start of this school year. So after a grand total of three weeks, and after talking to a grand total of two students (only one of which lives on the west side) the area’s been deemed dangerous yet again.

    How’s this for some news: I’ve lived on the west side for three years and have never had a problem. A lot of my other housemates/neighbors will say the same. Too many students refuse to look past their north side bubble, and it’s disappointing that the DT is doing the same.

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