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Students Confront Urban Crime

By A. Arif Husain

The four armed robberies reported on campus last week have evoked mixed feelings from students. While many fear for their safety, others simply accept them as part of life in an urban environment.

The four robberies equals the total number of robberies reported to Campus Police last year.

"Living in Boston, I don't really think about it all that much," said Emily C. Brown '96, who lives off-campus. "I just consider it a part of life here."

"I am not really afraid of [urban crime]," said Jonathan M. Morse '96 of Chi Phi. "It hasn't been something that I've really thought to affect me."

Other students, however, were more disturbed by these crimes. With two incidents occurring along Amherst Alley, a frequent passage for most West Campus residents, this recent streak has hit home for many.

"The campus is supposed to be a safe place," said Kristin Pierson '97. "You can expect [crime] in a city, but here it's unexpected."

Despite increased patrolling by Campus Police and Cambridge police along the perimeter areas of the campus, many students still feel unprotected.

"I feel safer off-campus now than I do on-campus," said Louise L. Wells '96, a resident of an off-campus independent living group. "I don't feel so safe getting there, but once I'm off [campus] I feel fine."

Anne T. Heibel '96, a Baker House resident, questioned the security of her dormitory. "It just seems like any random person can walk in," she said, "and the people at the desk don't really watch them."

One student felt the responsibility of personal safety should be up to each individual. "I don't think the Campus Police can do everything," said Lisa E. Cohen '94. "Ever since the murder last year they have really stepped up [patrols], and I don't know what more they can do."

While few students agree that these recent crimes will radically change their daily lives, many have become more aware of the problem and have modified their schedules accordingly. Campus Police have also been strongly urging students to be more observant and to avoid risky situations.

"I try to come back [to the dormitory] a little earlier now," said Baker resident Vinod Rangarajan '97. "And if I'm out real late I try to come back with somebody."

Nicole Baker '94 remarked, "Living in the city I think you have to be aware of [crime]. You can't just be oblivious to what's going on around you."