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Campus Police Shouldn't Be Bothered with Trivialities

Guest Column by Chris Council

Associate Night Editor

During the last couple of weeks, MacGregor House, particularly F Entry, where I live, has been plagued by complaints. Most of these complaints have been about the volume of the music in our suite. A few of these complaints have resulted in calls to the Campus Police, a state of affairs I find highly regrettable.

When the CPs receive a call such as this, valuable police resources are wasted. Two officers have to drive here in their cruiser, discuss the situation with the night watchman, climb three flights of stairs, talk to the complainant, go up another flight and try to stop the music, and so on. Then they have to file a report. This process takes a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes, and often lasts more than an hour. During that hour, then, there are at least two officers who are not on the streets. That's two officers who cannot respond to a real crime.

On an urban campus such as this one, this is a ludicrous situation. While the complaint is being handled, there will be murders, assaults, robberies, and rapes going on out in the streets.

In addition, calling the CPs for something this minor is not an adequate solution. If anything, it exacerbates the problem and causes problems with residents of the entry who have no connection with the incident. When the CPs responded to a recent complaint, they unintentionally woke up two residents who were completely uninvolved, including myself.

The responding officer was apparently annoyed, not only at the person playing the loud music, but also at the person who filed the complaint. It is easy to understand his reaction - it must be frustrating to be dragged away from other duties to respond to a call about a loud stereo.

When problems such as these arise (and they always do), it is best to discuss them rationally among the people involved. This process has shown itself to be effective - last year, in response to a similar problem, we worked out an understanding about when it is appropriate to play loud music and when it isn't.

What would you rather have the CPs protect you from - a vicious, loud stereo, or a knife-toting murderer? It's your choice. Think about it when you next hear loud music and are tempted to call the police.