A string of car break-ins and a stalking incident has left the USF community reeling in recent weeks. While an arrest was made in the stalking case, the fact that the student has returned to campus and a lack of suspects in the car break-ins has left students feeling insecure.
USF needs to be doing more to make us feel safe, even if they can’t make an arrest.
For starters, University Police (UP) should make a conscientious effort to advertise its Safety app. The app allows students to submit tips to campus police and alert the station when they are leaving and arriving to certain locations. Though the app is new, students should be made aware and encouraged to use it.
That gap in information leaves students without resources that could help the campus community feel safer.
Next, students who have experienced harassment, especially stalking, need to be offered options as far guaranteeing their safety to the best of UP’s ability.
As it stands, the girls who were subjected to the stalking have been moved to a new, undisclosed residence hall.
But this is not enough.
Stalkers are known to be persistent offenders.
According to The National Center for Victims of Crime, two-thirds of stalkers pursue their victims at least once a week, many pursue daily and often using more than one method.
UP and university administrators need to be sure that they are equally, or more persistent in the protection of the students that call USF home.
A new residence hall might keep them safe for now but if their stalker discovers where they live, the swipe-access of buildings does little to deter non-residents from entering.
The girls involved should be offered the chance to have extra security on campus, whether that’s an officer posted in their building or an escort to class.
And USF, from the departments to the administration, needs to seize the moment and ensure that students are feeling protected.
They must make statements and keep the community updated about changes in cases.
College should be a place of learning and discussion, not the site of robbery and violence.
Aida Vazquez-Soto is a senior majoring in political science and economics.