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Editorial: Robberies can be avoided by exercising caution

Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 13:02

Most students gain their first taste of living on their own in college — be it in the dorms where they can live relatively free of supervision, or living off-campus in a place they pay for themselves. This sudden freedom can be liberating, but as the recent string of burglaries off-campus proves, it is not without its share of risks. A suspect may have been caught, but the danger he represents is still real. Students must learn — at Loyola and beyond — to be cautious and to be safe.

Loyola attracts students from across the United States and the world. This attraction is a mark of its excellence, and mark of the fantastic and wonderful city in which it is situated. But while the danger of New Orleans is often overstated, it is still a city and prone to certain common dangers. Criminals thrive in cities — amidst such a dense population, they are free to make a tidy profit from the unwary.

College students are easy targets for burglars for a variety of reasons. Loyola’s student body is diverse and multifaceted, which is a good thing for our diversity but a bad thing in terms of preparing for the dangers of a city. We are less cautious because we do not well know the dangers we face. Plus, hand-in-hand with college is a variety of expensive equipment — computers, for one, and expensive textbooks, and all the accoutrements of home without the caution to guard these accoutrements. Such valuable items can be easily fenced, and so we offer great reward at minimal risk to potential thieves.

A determined burglar is likely to break in if you are absent — there is no avoiding this fact. But the more difficult you make it for a burglar to break in, even if it is simply by locking your doors, the less likely that burglar is to make the effort. For example, in England, suicides rapidly decreased after the government removed the gas stoves that made it so easy and convenient for suicidal people to kill themselves. This did not prevent suicides altogether, but it did cause a sharp decrease in the number of suicides. The lesson is clear — the more difficult a thing is, the less likely it is to be done.

The best way to avoid being taken advantage of is to take simple steps. Keep your doors locked and keep your eyes open for suspicious activity. Be cautious without being paranoid — if you see a van pull up and simply sit around for an hour, you can report it. New Orleans is a wonderful city, but it is still a city, and since many students are visitors, they make for easy prey unless they are prepared. Don’t be easy prey. Your valuables are valuable for a reason and deserve at least a modicum of protection.

College offers the first experience of the world of adulthood, especially when you start living off campus. But with this adulthood comes responsibility. A determined burglar will be able to break in if you’re not home, but that is no excuse for inaction. You possess all the materials you need to make it through college and into the working world — to allow yourself to lose these things because you couldn’t take the time to lock your door is sheer folly. 

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