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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Campus safety can never be truly guaranteed

Despite the extensive qualifications of UPD, random acts of crime and violence could still occur on campus. (NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)

The Stony Brook University campus is so vast and multidimensional that it is impossible for any force, no matter how powerful and resourceful, to monitor it in its entire at any given time. This realization brings me to the controversial question: are we safe on campus?

The University Police employs 140 people, half of whom are police officers. Most of these men and women have a four-year college degree and all have to pass a series of extensive physical, psychological and background exams to earn their positions as members of the department. They are also required to take and pass a course that is designed for Suffolk County police officers. Thus, the officers here at Stony Brook are no less qualified and experienced than those that patrol the streets of the county. These are men who are trained to enforce the law and will put their lives on the line for the protection of their fellow citizens.  Despite the aforementioned, I often find myself doubting if I am truly as safe as the university wants me to believe I am. What is keeping something devastating from happening here? Honestly, nothing.

When we look at the nature of college, filled with emotionally unstable, stressed and competitive individuals, we realize that it is in fact inductive to acts of hate, jealousy and even simply plain stupidity that can sometimes turn out to be dangerous for all parties involved. For example, in the case of the two recent robberies on campus, although the criminals had no school affiliation, there was no apparent rhyme or reason for the crime. It was just a few sixteen year olds trying to mess with some easy targets.

After the news came out it had me thinking that you or I could have just as easily been the ones who were robbed and the thieves could have easily been armed and deadly. Nothing would have stopped them from killing their victim if they had the desire to do so. What alarms me is that our school waited for a crime to happen before it acted. Only after the robberies took place did the University decide to keep an eye on the area of the campus that turned into crime scene. As you can see, I am not questioning the abilities and dedication of the police department but I am perplexed as to why the school could not be a little bit more proactive about trying to prevent tragedies before they happen, especially where it is most vulnerable.

Freshman Joseph Giambalvo, a chemical engineering major, was already a victim of a robbery in which his laptop was stolen and his room was broken into. Giambalvo, who was not in his room at the time of the burglary, eventually found out that the “crime” was simply a prank. The executor of the prank was reprimanded but there were no real legal repercussions on account that Giambalvo did not want to escalate the matter. Although no one was harmed and no property was actually stolen this makes my stomach turn. The thought that literally anyone could come into my room, given the right equipment (more often than not all it takes is a credit card), and steal from me, or worse, do harm, frightens me. Quite frankly, it should frighten you too.

The combination of immature minds with newfound independence and socially distraught people with tendencies for destructive behavior make the college environment extremely difficult to keep controlled and safe. I understand that there is only so much the university can do to stop crimes but I think we are in fact not as safe as we should be. Destructive acts committed on innocent people are becoming too frequent and thus we need to be more ready in this increasingly violent world.

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    dldSep 29, 2013 at 9:00 am

    UPD employs 140 people? How much of our tuition goes towards security?

    Undoubtedly a lot of money for them to hang out at Kelly, run people over on the sidewalk, and harass freshman for smoking weed.