Editorial: In North Philadelphia, crime is inevitable

Temple will never be able to fully safeguard students from crime.

On Oct. 29, an 81-year-old professor was punched in the head twice, robbed of his wallet and suffered injuries including lacerations and bleeding after a man snuck into Main Campus’s Anderson Hall. Darryl Moon, 45, was arrested in connection with the case and is not believed to have any affiliation with the university.

The incident has spurred conversation about how a thief could have entered a building that typically requires students to flash their Owl Cards upon arrival and what could have been done to stop him.

Although there are no doubt inconsistencies in the scrutiny of ID-checks in on-campus buildings, students should realize that there are more complex factors at hand affecting on-campus crime – primarily Main Campus’s location.

While students are entitled to feel safe on campus, the outcries for heightened security that routinely follow incidents such as this often come with few suggestions for a solution.  At best, some propose heightened security measures that would only cause further complaints from students.

There is little more that the university can do to fully prevent crime, and most of the heightened security measures implemented at other “high-crime” campuses would not be in-step with Temple’s goals and overall mission.

In September, Columbia University, a school nearly as beset by crime as Temple, required that students show IDs to even enter its Barnard Campus between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Converting Temple into a gated community would only heighten the barrier between students and North Philadelphia residents, which the university is trying to break down through the Good Neighbor Initiative. Gating Main Campus would completely change the identity of the university.

Temple cannot continue to act as “Philadelphia’s public university” if the Philadelphia public cannot enter its grounds.

Furthermore, replacing visual ID checks with computerized swiping would only open the door to even more ID fraud, and at the “rush hour” between classes, it would slow down the process of entering large-capacity buildings like Anderson and Gladfelter Halls even more.

While students rightfully deserve the most extensive security measures that the university can manage, they must also recognize that digging a moat around Main Campus is far from practical.

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