New security measures threaten ’SC atmosphere

After the Halloween shooting that shook the community, student security has become a priority at USC.

Because of rash decisions made following the Halloween shooting on campus, it has become increasingly difficult for students to gain access to their dorm rooms. First, freshmen must swipe their student ID cards to get into the building. Second, students must go through a fingerprint scan at the front desk where they will  receive the OK to swipe their ID cards once again to access the elevators.

Some new measures that the Dept. of Public Safety have implemented are effective, but it is important that school officials shift their security focus from residence halls to entrances around campus.

Though the new access policy in residence halls might slightly reduce theft in dorms, it has made it difficult for students to reach their dorms as well as interact with each other. If one forgets an item, it can take upwards of 10 minutes just to get to his or her dorm room. If students are advised to keep their doors locked at all times, there should theoretically be no thefts and consequently, a lack of necessity for heightened security.  There are many effective ways to prevent crime and heighten safety in the residence halls without increased security, which is tedious for students and costly for administration.

It appeared ironic that it became more difficult for students to access their dorms following the injurious Halloween incident, during which a shooter, who was not affiliated with USC, fired near the center of campus.  In all, however, it is important that DPS makes more of an effort to secure the campus’ entrances to proactively prevent danger from occurring on campus.

In the past, it was not uncommon to see a gate attendant taking a nap while on duty at night or looking on with disregard at those entering campus. Recently, however, DPS has become more active and has implemented new policies, such as having ID checkpoints from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. at eight heavily trafficked gates and closing off other entrances. Students and faculty can only hope that DPS will continue to play a larger role at the entryways as of Jan. 14, when the new measures went into effect.

With improvements made to perimeter security, it would be logical to lessen dorm room security.  Though it is clear that DPS and Student Affairs prioritize student safety, it is also important that they see student satisfaction as a goal. It is often difficult for students to feel at “home,” however, when one is forced through a security checkpoint nearly akin to the Transportation Security Administration’s at LAX.  Focusing our security measures on prevention of crime at the gate as opposed to prevention of crime beyond the gate, the feeling of security will heighten among students and faculty.

As with any other environment needing security, it is imperative that the university recognizes its security in depth. In other words, security efforts should begin off-campus with the Los Angeles Police Department, then at the campus perimeter, followed by on-campus patrols exercised by DPS and, lastly, the residence halls.  It’s a logical conclusion that crime is managed at entry points, the inner levels of security, such as DPS and its protection of the residence halls, will require less concern and attention.  USC is a home for thousands of students and faculty members, and it is important that realistic convenience is not compromised by endless security checkpoints.


Blake Bakkila is a freshman majoring in public relations.


5 replies
  1. faith
    faith says:

    You lost me after “Shook the community”.

    read the crime reports for L.A. one non fatal shooting is hardly shaking a community.

  2. Janie Lemons
    Janie Lemons says:

    We really are the university of spoiled children if we reject something given to us that others would fight their hardest to have. We have been given a thoughtful gift of safety, and so many are rejecting it. We’re very lucky to have safety as a luxury. And… We’re very lucky to have a voice. And how spoiled are we to say we feel like we’re symbolically being shut and feel like we can’t spread our wings because of some 2 foot fences, when people are physically and literally being shot and wounded and killed. I would easily trade claustrophobia for another’s life. I’m so glad that the new security measures around campus are stimulating discussion, but it seems that those speaking out are trending on the negative side. Well here’s a positive that will end with a Star Trek quote:
    I am grateful for USC’s action towards improving safety. Better safe than sorry. How much are you currently doing interacting with the community between the hours of 9pm and 6 am that you feel like your rights and freedoms to engage locals in immersive discussion is being taken away? People are generalizing, idealizing, and exaggerating what they perceive to be happening. You are not living in Fort Knox (which happens to be in the suburbs of Kentucky) and you’re not living in a “castle”, as much as you would like to, it there is no moat and drawbridge with 60 foot walls and last time I checked we have indoor plumbing so dramatic metaphors aren’t pragmatic to your argument. Also you are not in prison, you have an ID, you can go where you want when you want, you’re not at University of Alcatraz. Also, last time I checked the school did this to protect your health and life. And I don’t know about everyone else, but about 200 grand for my education is a lot of money, and I pay USC for my scholastic education and the availability of programs like JEP that actually integrate us with the community. I don’t really pay for a community park/ recreation center. Even parks close after dark. Although it is cool to see the guys on their bikes and skateboards doing what they do, I enjoy that during the day between the hours of 6 am and 9 pm. And I think one of the greatest things USC does is host elementary LA unified school district tours of campus, so that underserved youth have something to aspire to. But lemme tell you what, those tours bettering their future aren’t happening at 9pm. And I can’t tell you the last time I saw a student engaging and conversing with a random “University of South Central” area local, let alone at 2am. Oh wait, never. I’m pretty sure organizations like Troy Camp who work to cultivate the culture of the community at large don’t have office hours then. But I can count the times I’ve been walking home from a group project (the intended purpose of a collegiate campus) at 12 am and felt unsafe because of cat calls and threats around me. “You better watch yourself honey” and “Promise not to scream” to name a few. Seriously, there’s a reason our taxpayer funded parks and open spaces largely close at sunset. Numerous studies can prove that the intentions of the vast majority of those out after dark (and on a campus they don’t attend) aren’t out with the motives of picking daisies.
    If it is an inconvenience for those few passers through to go the extra 100 yards to walk on the perimeter of campus instead then welcome to SC football.
    And factually, do you know that if you’re so proud, that your proud university has declining numbers of applications with the onset of each new tragic “accident”. So Nikias and the rest of the school are working to preserve the integrity of our educational establishment.
    I don’t see you all complaining each time a new library or multi million dollar school is donated. So guess what, this is for you too. It’s all for you. Every decision USC makes is not to turn you into brainwashed minions. They are doing this to expand what USC can do for its students and its community. And reality check: you’re pretty lucky to go to a private institution with an open campus and open buildings. We are of the handful of private universities that have had open doors. And you know what, the other ones have a lot better community crime rates. We’re in South Central (google maps calls it that so it’s not some generalizing outsider slur), and it’s a miracle USC hasn’t taken stricter measures in security. NYU is “the school of the city” and they check ID’s in every building at 2 pm! And they’re in a lot more privileged neighborhood than we have surrounding our campus. So gratitude for what openness we do have is a great place to be. So once you put it in perspective, maybe thank the DPS officer patrolling by your residence, or better yet, thank the unarmed officer that chased after the halloween shooting suspect and alleged gang member in an extended pursuit.
    We are lucky to have so many people dedicated to our safety and wellbeing rather than their own.
    I am very sure that those parents who have lost their children to violent crime in our community, whether by injury or death, on or off campus, wish any as such measure as this campus checkpoint was being taken. Safety is widely a priority for parents and for good reason, because they love us and want us to live long, educated, healthy, happy lives. They want us to live long and prosper.
    What ever happened to safety first?

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