Letters to the Editor

I would like to bring to the attention of the faculty and students the fact that we students who live off campus in Home Park do not feel safe.

As of June 23, six incidents have occurred within a block of our house in the past month, including one that hit quite close to home when one of my roommates and a friend had a gun pulled on them. Why weren’t patrols stepped up after the first incident? Why weren’t cameras installed after the second? How could this school allow its students to be in such danger within a stone’s throw of campus? GT needs to recognize that this area is almost entirely student houses and they have a responsibility to keep us safe. It’s happened six times and they are still refusing to step up patrols.

According to CBS news, “Georgia Tech is emailing an alert to students and putting up notices around campus, but they don’t have any plans to step up patrols around campus.” In other words they’re leaving us for dead. My professors give me plenty to worry about as it is. I wish I didn’t have to worry about being shot while walking home from the library at night. Apparently the GT police have plenty of manpower to write tickets to people coasting down Hemphill and break up parties, while keeping us safe is obviously a tertiary priority. To protect and serve my ass.

GT either needs to allow us to take matters in to our own hands and arm ourselves, provide more affordable and available on campus housing, or simply work with the Atlanta police to keep us safe. Currently neither are doing their job.

With both GT and the Atlanta police supposedly covering our area, we should be one of the safest places downtown. Apparently both think it should be the others’ responsibility. The perpetrators are clearly unafraid and aware of the situation in our area. Another student was robbed at gunpoint just last night. How many incidents will it take before our school does more than send an email?

Robert Rhinehart

Third-year EE

I have been a student at Georgia Tech for over 5 years. I have lived in Home Park for over 3 of those years as a student. I’m sure you are aware of the situation that has been occurring lately in my neighborhood area. If not, I will explain it. There have been numerous armed robberies on top of petty theft incidents.

I myself have experienced over 15 incidents. Every time I call the Georgia Tech police because they are so close but they immediately rout me to Atlanta 911 Emergency and it has taken over 5 hours for them to respond. Yes, five hours, I have waited over five hours for a police officer to get to my house right after it was attempted to be broken into. This has been the case for many of my fellow students that also live in the area. Finally after a while, Tech police started to patrol the area. But honestly, their little effort has not helped.

A month or so ago, I had two friends forcefully pushed into their homes and held at gunpoint. The assailants took everything from them and made away cleanly. Only 2 weeks ago, I woke up at 4 am to a woman beating on my door. I didn’t open the door until I knew she was off of my front porch. I was fully armed with my AR-15 and for once held them at gunpoint.

They immediately fled my property and I called the police. Georgia Tech once again transferred me to Atlanta 911 and they didn’t show up for a solid 20 minutes. My friends and I are sick and tired of this kind of stuff happening. There are constant robberies, armed, unarmed, etc.

People are starting to purchase firearms for personal protection. Many of us have handguns and keep with us them while we watch TV. Many of us can’t sleep without doing a full sweep of our yard to make sure no one is waiting on us. Even more of us have installed alarm systems in our homes.

To be quite honest, many of us have itchy trigger fingers and are ready for the next incident to happen to us. We will defend ourselves and call them once it is resolved. This may sound very overconfident and inexperienced, but since nothing we have seen is being done about this issue, we have no other choice.

This is can be a life or death situation, and I am not waiting an hour or so for some police officer to casually roll up and write down a quick police report. I hope my message was clear and concise. If any of you are thinking about stealing from residents of Home Park, this is my advice. We are ready and waiting. We all need to stand together and protect each other because the protection we should be able to count on doesn’t exist. Good luck everyone.

Harry Smith

Fifth-year MGT

Over quite a few years spent both on and off campus I was fortunate to avoid trouble of the kind that has recently plagued the Georgia Tech community and generated negative publicity for the Institute.

Others, however, have not been so lucky, with crime striking Tech students in an alarming way. The right to one’s safety is both basic and essential to a society in which innovation and creativity can flourish.

While these crimes have an immediate and potentially devastating effect upon their victims, the losses to those who would benefit from advances made by future Georgia Tech alumni are great as well. The Institute depends upon its ability to attract he most able students from around the world.

These students, for some of whom a Georgia Tech education is a means of escaping violence and intimidation, may, rightly, reconsider their choice if the Institute, the city of Atlanta, and members of the student body do not act decisively to quell this spate of attacks.

There is no issue more pressing to a body of higher learning than the maintenance of the safety of its students. Georgia Tech is far too vital to the future of the city and the state, and its students deserve the right to learn and create without fear, to allow the threat of violence to undermine the work done by our students, faculty, and staff.

Will Welch

ISYE ’07