OP-EDS

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November 3, 2006

Reality check

Crime is a fact of life living in Hyde Park, but this seems to come as news to Student Government (SG). This week, they decided to take action against crime and do what they do best: form a Committee. SG’s plans might be full of ambition, but they lack the forethought necessary to actually make Hyde Park safer. SG is in need of a serious reality check on this issue. A basic look at the facts surrounding crime on campus reveals that SG is going to have to ditch its current course on crime and acknowledge the existence of infinitely more effective avenues.

In relation to the rest of Chicago, our neighborhood is one of the safest. We employ a private police force rivaled only by that of the Vatican. This comes in addition to the presence of the Chicago Police Department (CPD). It is impossible to look at these facts and still say the efforts to preserve safety on campus are anything less than up to par.

This is not to say that students and the rest of the Hyde Park community should sit back, pat our own backs, and do nothing to continue improving the services offered. We should always be searching for ways to improve safety, whether it involves studying crime patterns, increasing police presence, or decreasing the response time to a crime scene.

But these tasks fall under the primary duties of the experts already involved. It is not SG’s job to claim knowledge in a field where it does not have the resources or experience to address the problems at hand. Instead, it should use its power as a consolidated student voice to lobby for changes to those that have the power to institute them. In this case, they should work with the UCPD and CPD to improve their effectiveness. This would be far more beneficial than establishing an internal committee with the mission of promoting a secure campus—SG can do more by working with the system in place rather than supplementing it.

One of the committee’s proposals, the creation of a database tracking campus crime, is superficial and redundant. The CPD already tracks crime throughout Chicago, which includes Hyde Park. In this, as with the production of an inefficient committee, SG seems to be catering to students’ complaints about crime and desire to feel reassured, rather than trying to achieve improvement.

But all of the blame should not be placed on SG. Students’ complaints are what prompted their action. Students must get used to the fact that crime happens. Complaining in the way they have suggests many have yet to face this reality. We give you all the same advice that we give SG: Complain to those who can make a difference, and base your complaints in reality.