Damielys Duarte/Staff Writer
Now more than ever, the FIU Police Department and the University as a whole has to take a more dramatic stand against violent crimes that are occurring on campus. Alerts alone are not going to resolve the issue of crime.
Many students were disgruntled and even worried when news spread of two robbers following an FIU student to PG-6, blocking him into a parking space, and then robbing him at gunpoint. The situation escalated when the student was caught on camera jumping onto the hood of the moving vehicle in an attempt to stop the criminals.
FIU is an open campus due to its status as a public institution; however, for that same reason, security on campus and in parking garages should be improved dramatically.
For starters, many students were calling for gates that require your FIU ID to open, much like the system in place at the library. In a way, this is a perfect example of FIU’s priorities, where access to the library is more restricted than the unsupervised environment students use on a continuous basis.
And although many will argue that an ID access gate at parking garages will significantly slow down traffic for students rushing to find parking, we must all keep in mind it’s better to be late to class than to be robbed at gunpoint.
Moreover, this is a crucial security measure for students who have late night classes or stay out until dark studying at the library. They should feel comfortable walking to their vehicle at night and not clutching their books as a weapon against a possible attack.
In addition to the gate, police presence needs to be stronger on campus. Many times, the threat of authority is a greater deterrent than the actual police arresting an individual, not to mention that individuals also need to be more vigilant of their surroundings and notice when they are being followed.
One possible program that the University can create could be a “Community Watch” group where students can volunteer to serve on a committee dedicated to FIU safety. They can use collaborative efforts from the school to initiate programs and workshops aimed at educating students on safety.
A possible incentive could be college credit and can even be included in the curriculum of certain majors, such as criminal justice. It wouldn’t only benefit the well-being of all FIU students and guests, but also offer key experiences to students interested in criminology.
This, in addition to increased presence from FIUPD on campus, could have a significant impact on the overall safety of campus life.
In order to pursue an education, students need to study in an environment where they don’t feel that they can fall prey to crime. And FIU, as a leading institution, has the resources and responsibility to implement a stronger safety network for its students.
Featured photo from FIU Flickr.
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