The University of Chicago is a city school. There are advantages and disadvantages to this obvious, but crucial fact. Our location in one of the great American cities affords us remarkable cultural, academic, and social opportunities. On the other hand, we must be aware of the realities of city life and act accordingly. This fact should neither encourage paranoia nor should it be ignored. However, when violent crime occurs in the heart of campus, not as an isolated incident, but rather as one high-profile example of a string of violent crimes on and around campus, we must reevaluate how we deal with crime in the community.
The UCPD is a formidable private police force, and has a history of working tirelessly to fight crime in the area. Clearly, crime cannot be extinguished in any neighborhood, let alone an urban one. Nor is it productive to use one particularly striking crime to incite panic in the University community or completely dismantle current policies. Nevertheless, recognizing that crime has risen in Hyde Park in recent months, it is critical that we at least entertain a reexamination of the current policy.
First, one of the best ways to reduce crime in any situation is to increase police presence in the area. The UCPD should examine where and when it chooses to send its officers and patrol cars. For instance, the increase in officers patrolling on bikes has been an effective improvement. Also, the area on the quad where the two students were mugged lacks sufficient lighting. Perhaps an increase in lighting in and around campus would be a viable option. The Maroon knows that the University police are very knowledgable about how to fight crime, and they should be the ones examining and improving current policy. We just hope that they do exactly that.