The Maroon

Safety First

The “It’s Not Enough” campaign strives for safety around campus

JENNIE GUTIERREZ Staff Writer

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Fed up with rising Uptown crime and lack of authoritative reaction, Tulane students decided to take matters into their own hands, organizing a campaign called “It’s Not Enough” to raise attention to the issue.

“We came up with the idea after The Hullabaloo published an article last semester about TUPD handing out MIPs instead of protecting students. Uptown is becoming more vulnerable, the crime is adding up and nothing is changing,” said Claire Austen-Smith, a Tulane sociology senior who began the “It’s Not Enough” campaign with peers Elena Pueraro, Lula Fotis and Eliza Arnold.

According to the New Orleans Police Department crime map, there have been 11 violent crimes in a one-mile radius of Loyola since the first of the year: seven assaults, three robberies and one sex crime. There have been 30 property crimes, including 12 incidents of theft.

Organizers have asked students and residents of the university area to sign a petition requesting more patrolling officers, brighter street lighting and an improved Safe Ride system. The campaign and petition is directly addressed to Tulane President Scott Cowen and Tulane University Police Department. The petition also calls for better communication with students about crimes in the area.

The petition has received 1,238 signatures so far. Austen-Smith said the response from students, parents and the Uptown community has been “overwhelmingly positive,” and a meeting with the Tulane administration is in the works.

NOPD 2nd District Investigative Crime Unit Sgt. Chris F. Dilliog said that while campus crime has possibly decreased, crime in the wider university area has increased considerably.

The last four months of 2011 saw more than double the crime in the 2nd District’s Zone K, which includes parts of South Carrolton Avenue, Claiborne Avenue and Freret Street, than that same time period in 2010, according to official NOPD data.

“Students are definitely targets for these crimes. These criminals know that students are carrying around backpacks with computers, phones and credit cards to and from school and the bars. You can’t be walking around with your head up your butt. You always have to be thinking 12 steps ahead,” Dilliog said.

NOPD mostly works with campus police after the crimes have occurred to investigate, identify a lead and arrest the perpetrators. Dilliog credits the Loyola and Tulane police departments with doing a “great job of protecting the students in the boundaries and outside the boundaries.”

The Loyola University Police Department’s Capt. Roger Pinac said he believes that better reporting practices have brought more awareness of crime, not necessarily that crime has gotten more frequent or severe.

“In the early- to mid-’90s when I started at Loyola, the 2nd District averaged 80 to 100 armed robberies a month alone. Compare those statistics with today,” he said. According to Pinac no new safety programs or plans are under way.

Some students said they feel that Loyola and LUPD could do more to improve safety for students Uptown and around campus.

Allison McElligott, mass communication freshman, said the recent crime has spiked her interest in taking a self-defense class.

“I was considering living off campus, and now I do not feel as comfortable taking that step. The BOLOs keep me informed and aware of my surroundings, but I definitely think I’m not as safe as Loyola portrays,” she said.

At the Jan. 18 Student Government Association senate meeting, Marlee Jensen, senator at large and performance freshman, announced concerns about building safety at night. Many Loyola buildings do not require campus identification cards to enter at night, allowing anyone to enter and putting students in potential danger. Another issue discussed was the Blue Light Emergency Phone System. Several of the blue lights need repair.

“New Orleans, like any city, is a dangerous city. But loving it as we do, we feel inclined to trust it,” Jensen said in an email.

Jensen advised concerned students to speak to an SGA senator, whose names are listed on the SGA website, or to attend the weekly senate meetings on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. in the Audubon Room.

Jennie Gutierrez can be reached at [email protected] 

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