Staggering amounts of recent off-campus crimessurrounding Tulane and Loyola universities in New Orleans have left manystudents concerned about their safety.
According to theTimes-Picayune, a newspaper in New Orleans, seven murders occurred just in the four days
leading up to Jan. 28. Although murder rates in cities across the country are beginning to drop, New Orleans’ rates are increasing.
According to the Times-Picayune, at least 14 Tulane students were robbed last semester, some atgunpoint. Two women, unaffiliated with the university, were raped just blocks from the school in early January. Many students walk through these areas to get to school, including Clare Austen-Smith, who said she fears walking home from class as early as 5:30 p.m.
In response to the crime,Austen-Smith helped organize the “It’s Not Enough” campaign. The petition and video have caught the attention of Tulane President Scott Cowen, who says the school is increasing safety measures. Austen-Smith and other students should be commended for their attempts to improve campussafety.
According to the campaign’s website, the dean of students at Tulane sent an email to students saying that more university police have been assigned to the areas around campus, and students can now call for police escorts if they do not feel safe. Students can also call “Safe Ride” and receive a free ride across campus.
Some students object to thepetition, including Jacob Tupper, who was robbed and pistol-whipped while walking just blocks from campus. Tupper said to theTimes-Picayune that the crime was one of “social opportunity” and said hismuggers are “seizing their opportunity of pretty easy targets: rich, white, drunk kids walking the streets.”
Others, including Loyola Police Chief Patrick Bailey, believe that Tulane is “almost like an island in a city that is having a hard time with crime.” Regardless of thesocioeconomic differences between the surrounding community and the students, campuses and the areas around them should remain a safe place.
The surrounding neighborhoods where students work and live could benefit from increased security. Not only would increasing lawenforcement benefit theexpanding New Orleans and its growing problems, but it would also make the students and faculty feel more secure.
Social programs should also be created in New Orleans to helpvictims of Hurricane Katrina and their families adjust. According to USA Today, the soaring crime rates may be connected to high dropout and unemployment rates among those displaced by Katrina.
While other cities may not face the unique challenges of New Orleans as the city recovers, the danger is too high for students and citizens alike. It is important that the city, colleges and lawenforcement work together to solve this problem.