EDITORIAL: Renewing an emphasis on safety, security

Beyond expecting a quality education, students at Central Michigan University expect a certain degree of security, privacy and safety.

However, some recent events have caused a disconnect between that expectation and reality.

Last year, a student was robbed of his wallet near parking lot 42 and 7-Eleven, a student was abducted at gunpoint outside of the Student Activity Center and several laptops were stolen from Cobb and Carey residence halls.

This year, a homeless man was charged with larceny, trespassing and destruction of property after vandalizing – and living in – Finch Fieldhouse over the course of at least a couple of days. The man also stole a backpack full of equipment valued at around $400.

CMU Police Chief Bill Yeagley epitomizes the attitudes surrounding our city. After the abduction in January, he said the scariest part of the incident was that nobody thinks these types of situations can happen.

Mount Pleasant and the CMU community need a reality check.

While Mount Pleasant might be safer than many cities in Michigan, crime is inevitable. The common mindset that our community is excluded from the realities of the rest of the world is inaccurate and misleading.

Although these crimes are not the fault of the victims, CMU and its students need to realize that the real world can oftentimes be a dangerous place. Every precaution should be taken to promote our personal safety.

Ultimately, our personal security rests most heavily on our own shoulders.

While our police department – with a high-response rate and an advanced surveillance system – provides comfort from the inescapable, the first step in preventing crime is to recognize that it exists.

All buildings on campus should incorporate a higher standard of security to protect our students. Although the residence hall check-in policy is useful for the evening hours, the majority of campus does not facilitate heightened safety measures.

Western Michigan University, Grand Valley State University and Eastern Michigan University have implemented campus ID scanner systems for entry to residence halls. It’s time CMU does the same.

CMUPD employs 20 police officers. Our on-campus population is 19,634 students. With no additional security presence on campus, that leaves each officer charged with protecting 982 students. More can be done to expand our security.

While the homeless should never be able to camp out in university buildings and students shouldn’t live in fear of being kidnapped, it’s an unpleasant reality both our facilities and our students could – and should – be more prepared to face.


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