Staff editorial: Another year, another robbery, another carjacking

We’re a few weeks into the new semester, but we’re still dealing with a familiar problem: crime near campus.

Wednesday morning, the Danforth Campus went into lockdown after a Washington University employee reported being robbed on the platform of the Big Bend MetroLink station. And Tuesday night, there was yet another carjacking in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood, on the 6100-block of Waterman Boulevard.

But, while all students were notified about the campus lockdown, most heard nothing from the University about the carjacking incident. Despite multiple calls from our Editorial Board for these alerts to go out to the full student body, the University currently sends alerts only to students living within the immediate vicinity of a crime.

In light of the latest crime incidents, we urge the University to start sending out crime reports to all students, regardless of where they live.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, students frequent neighborhoods besides the ones where they live. Students may be in the vicinity of a crime even if they don’t live in that area. Furthermore, there seem to be inconsistencies with regard to the email lists. This might be due to student error—local addresses not being updated on WebSTAC—but it still leaves open the possibility of residents never learning that a crime occurred near their homes.

While crime alerts go up on the Washington University Police Department’s website fairly quickly, students who don’t receive the emails are quite unlikely to check the site. Thus, they may only learn of incidents through word of mouth—even if they’d been mere blocks from an incident when it occurred. This puts people at potential risk and means students lack full information when making decisions that may impact their safety.

Communication is key: If students know more about what’s going on, they are better able to take safety precautions. Although the University has sent out plenty of emails with safety tips—like carrying a whistle, choosing well-lit paths and staying alert—it’s concerning that many incidents may go unnoticed by students, leaving them unaware of crime in their general vicinity until it’s too late.

After several instances of crime in the neighborhoods surroundings the University, Wash. U. partnered with Uber last semester. This was never meant to be a long-term solution, and we understand why the University discontinued the program at the semester’s end. Wash. U. explained from the start that the Uber partnership would only be temporary, but the carjacking and robbery that happened this week indicate that crime is still a major issue.

Our Editorial Board wants to remind you of the safety options that still exist. The Campus2Home shuttle leaves from Mallinckrodt Center every 30 minutes, on the top of the hour and at half past. Students can take Campus2Home, which drops you right in front of your door, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. each night. There’s also Noonlight, a personal safety app you can download free of charge, which functions as a personal blue light. And finally, Wash. U. has extended the hours of the Campus Circulator through 4 a.m. for the spring semester.

For those impacted by the latest instances, the crime issue feels as real as ever—and if Uber provided some physical or mental relief, that relief is gone. The least Wash. U. can do is communicate what’s going on in the area.

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