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CPs Create Crime Bulletin on Athena

By Don Lacey
Staff Reporter

Late last month, the Campus Police started a electronic mail list designed to keep members of the MIT community informed about crime on campus.

According to Sgt. Cheryl Vossmer, the list was created to respond to "the increased number of people requesting to be notified when we send out a crime prevention bulletin via e-mail." The list, is simply "another avenue" for notifying people about crime, she said.

In general, students believe that the list is a good way to keep people informed about campus crime.

One of the bulletin's 82 current subscribers is Kenneth M. Porter '96, the Safe Walk administrator, who said that while he has not received any information through the list yet, he feels that it is definitely a good idea.

"If the Campus Police sends out information on a timely basis, then the mailing list should be a very useful resource," Porter said.

Most subscribers, like East Campus President Parag Gupta '96, share Porter's opinion of the list. "I subscribed to this list to be more aware of what is going on around campus," Gupta said. "The more people that are aware of any crimes that occur, the more careful they will be, and the safer MIT will be."

That sentiment was echoed by David F. Lockwood '96, who said that while he doesn't have any strong feelings on the issue, he feels that it "can't hurt for people to know more about what's happening on campus because if they're more informed, crime ought to decrease."

Dana L. Kirsch '97, a resident of the Women's Independent Living Group, said that because of WILG's location, "we're really concerned about crime, and we will probably benefit from having access to the list."

Kirsch has not subscribed to the list because she already receives police bulletins through another mailing list.

While most reaction has been positive, some students, including Janet Wang '95, would like for the list to be publicized more widely. "It's helpful, but unless everybody knows how to add themselves to the list, it really won't do too much to reduce crime," Wang said.

However, at least one student feels that the new service will ultimately lead to an increase in crime on campus.

According to John Gavenonis '98, "the fact is that by promoting all these mailing lists and other highly publicized anti-crime measures, the Campus Police are fostering a false sense of security among students here.

"This list will really just make things worse," Gavenonis said, "because everyone will assume that because of it, crime has decreased, and that perception will make people more careless with their belongings."

Athena users can add themselves to the list by typing "blanche cp-bulletin -add username" at the "athena%" prompt.