The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Editorial: The importance of campus safety awareness

Though we are lucky to live on a secure and relatively safe campus, there are times when the Saint Joseph’s University community is rocked by unnerving events. Only two weeks ago, on the morning of Oct. 5, an email with the subject “Off-Campus incident” did just that.

The incident was also reported by 6ABC Action News, a local news station located just down City Avenue. In a news article published on Oct. 5 titled “St. Joseph’s Univ. students targeted in off-campus home invasion in Wynnefield,” 6ABC reported the disturbing details of the crime and how the victim, a St. Joe’s student, was almost kidnapped. The perpetrators “duct-taped her mouth, zip-tied her hands and put her in a closet.” According to a later email written by Cary Anderson, Ed.D., associate provost and vice president of Student Life, an arrest was made on Oct. 12 in regards to the incident. The email concluded with a reminder of the psychological services available on campus and “encouraged [students] to contact…the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).”

For many students, criminal incidents on- and off-campus leave us feeling emotional and, often, anxious. For students living off-campus this fall, this is especially true. Many upperclassmen here at Saint Joseph’s live off-campus, which means that they are vulnerable to crime in a different way than those students living on-campus. While campus housing is regularly patrolled by Public Safety officers and trafficked by other students, off-campus students have less access to these safety measures. Manayunk residents often experience the most limited university safety resources.

This month, the university’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report—a mandatory annual report in accordance with the Clery Act that reports statistics on campus safety—was made publicly available. Its function is to keep all current and potential members of the Saint Joseph’s University community abreast of acts of violence that have taken place on campus over the last year. This report, meant to be informative, might also have another, incidental purpose: to motivate students to reflect on campus crime and violence and become more aware of it in regard to his or her own safety.

Realistically speaking, crimes occur within the borders of Philadelphia County on a daily basis. St. Joe’s students who live off-campus become part of this Philadelphia community as well as our St. Joe’s community, and they must take action to protect themselves and maintain security for their homes. To those Hawks who call off-campus home, make sure to lock your doors, double-check security systems, and remain aware of events or suspicious activity around your place of residence. It’s unfortunate that an incident like that of Oct. 5 brings these precautions to the front of our minds, but we should take this opportunity to stay safe not only in the coming weeks, but throughout the rest of the year, as well.

We should also mention here that while strong reactions to such disturbing events are natural and warranted, as an institution made up of mindful individuals, we ought to avoid panicking at all costs. It jeopardizes the mental well-being of all persons within the Saint Joseph’s community. Paranoia undoubtedly brings us to our worst, and we must resist the temptation to feel overwhelmed or consumed. Rather, we should remain attentive to our environment for the safety of ourselves as well as others.

Finally, underlying these recent safety concerns is the unfortunate reality of meaningless violence: There is only so much we can do to prevent it within our community. There is no reason or sense in random acts of crime, and while we may never be able to understand why someone would choose to perpetrate such crimes, we do know that even one student affected at St. Joe’s is too many. The Hawk’s thoughts are with all those affected by the recent incident, and we encourage students to continue to make their safety a priority. – The Hawk Staff

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