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