They say cities are like apples. If the core is rotten, the whole thing goes bad.
But while the core of London is arguably in need of some repair, Western’s campus is a relatively attractive, clean and safe place.
And while some students may see the number of criminal offenses committed on campus and react with shock, there’s no need to overreact. We have it pretty good.
At the pit of this fruit is the simple fact that crime is going to happen.
London is an immense city — the 11th biggest in Canada. Crime is a natural byproduct of being such a vast, populous city and it would be naïve to move here without expecting it.
That’s why the 553 criminal offenses on Western’s campus in 2010 is really not all that surprising.
And while the number in the 500’s stands out, it’s important to realize the vast majority of those are thefts, something that many students arguably invite through negligence and general irresponsibility.
Not to mention a large number of driving offenses and drug charges, crimes that, while just, don’t necessarily put Western students in peril.
Break the number down a bit further and we find that there were just 21 assaults, six sexual harrassments and four sexual assaults in the entire year.
Obviously a big zero across the board would be preferable, but considering the toxic mix of youth, hormones, substance abuse and wide-spread immaturity thrown into the pressure cooker of campus, those numbers aren’t all that bad.
The numbers are actually more in line with what one would expect to happen on a typical weekend — not an entire calendar year — which means either the vast majority of crimes are going unreported or the university and campus police are doing a bang up job.
Regardless, it’s painfully easy for students to make mountains out of molehills here at Western. Remember, it was just last year when a student was arrested at the Social Science Centre and the campus exploded in an unnecessary outburst of angst and police brutality allegations against campus police — allegations that were later dismissed following months of investigation and review.
Sure, the university could improve safety around campus by installing some more lights or investing in another emergency blue light station, but there’s no need for a dramatic overhaul of campus security.
Plus, no one wants campus to resemble a New York City airport. Western is a community, not a state.
As Western students, staff and colleagues, it’s everyone’s responsibility to prevent crime and look out for one another. If something looks suspicious don’t ignore it — report it. Take some pride in your community and be a good person.
It’s a novel concept but it just might work.
—The Gazette Editorial Board