Opinion

EDITORIAL

The University of Miami spends a good deal of money every year on security around the campus. There are police officers, security guards, blue light phones, and countless other things that are meant to give students a feeling of safety. And our campus should be a place where students feel safe whether they are in their dorm rooms or walking to the library late at night.

However, recently, a student was attacked with a possible intention of rape near the baseball field parking lots. Thankfully, she was able to fight the attacker and get away without harm, but what if the next person is not so lucky? What if someone attacks again? Indeed, what if we are not as safe as we think on our campus?

The most important question seems to be, is this the administration’s fault? Perhaps the attacks were made possible because there is simply not enough security or it is not accessible in a dangerous situation. After all, if someone is being attacked, they might not have enough time to stop at a blue light phone and call for help. Even more likely, there might not be a blue light phone anywhere near them, and then they are left to defend themselves.

No matter how much money the administration pumps into extra security, there will always be at least one place that will not be safe to go to at any given time. There is no way to protect every square foot of campus. So what can be done? Perhaps, with the overabundance of cell phones, an easy number could be created that the students would be able to call from their cell phones to access the on campus police or security. In essence, every student would be like a walking blue light phone. This would solve the problem of being in places where no phones are easily accessible, and it would give students access to security that is already on campus, ensuring quicker arrival than dialing 911 would bring.

Also, more lighting in parking lots might be helpful. Even in the Memorial Building Parking lot, the lights are highly ineffective. The abundance of trees in the lot effectively blocks out much of the light given off from the light poles that do exist, and the lot is usually alarmingly dark. The corners by the Learning Center seem to be especially dangerous, and with the increase of night classes in the school curriculum, it seems appropriate to increase security. Students who have night classes this semester often complain of having to walk out into a nearly deserted and poorly lit parking lot late at night.

This fear is certainly justified. The Memorial Building parking lot and many other places on campus could easily be breeding grounds for crime. They afford the cover of night, they are fairly isolated, there is an easy entrance and escape, and there is no readily available access to security if you are in the aisles of the parking lot looking for your car. In fact, it seems surprising that there have been so few problems since these places on campus are literally a criminal’s dream.

But what can be done to make our campus safer? For starters, an increase in patrolling security and police officers would be very helpful. The mere presence of these people doing regular rounds would make many more students feel better about walking into a dark parking lot late at night. Also, the lighting is in dire need of improvement. There should be no reason that a criminal would have the advantage of darkness to facilitate them; not in the lots by the baseball field, and especially not in a place as central as the Memorial Building parking lot. This is especially egregious when the relative simplicity of installing extra lighting is taken into consideration. In the end, whatever is done, it needs to be done soon.

October 22, 2002

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.