The announcement that the Atlanta Police Department will allocate an additional four police officers to patrol Tech campus and the surrounding areas at night as well as four more officers for the Atlanta University Center and new undercover officers is a welcome addition to the crime prevention policies on campus. It is depressing that three Atlanta college students were shot before these steps were taken, but we acknowledge that there have been many steps in the right direction such as checkpoints around campus and the end of police furloughs.
The problem, however, will not be stopped just by increasing the number or even the quality of officers on campus, as has been done through the new addition of a SWAT team on campus. It is devastatingly apparent that the most violent and shocking crimes are being perpetrated by people with no ties to the universities. These criminals drive to our neighborhoods to wreak havoc on a vulnerable population, but they then return to the poverty stricken neighborhoods that circle Atlanta, neighborhoods like Vine City and English Avenue. Both the Atlanta Police Department and the universities of Atlanta must encourage programs that combat the rampant poverty and crime in these neighborhoods in order to stem the flow of criminals onto our campuses.
Unfortunately, while it is never the victim’s fault when a crime is perpetrated, we must remind students that we control the supply of vulnerable targets. Do not walk through Home Park or Centennial Place at night. The Stingerette service is affordable, far more so than a hospital visit or traumatic attack. If you cannot adjust your finances to afford a ride home, then adjust your schedule. Walk home earlier or crash on campus till the next day. At this point, all students should be aware of the danger and do everything they can to protect themselves, including modifying our behavior.