Local crime desensitizes

The developing story of Kim Jones’ murder makes reporters fear students giving up on the community.

We thought the trail leading to Kim Jones’ killer had all but gone cold, so we were just as stunned as the rest of the Temple community to learn a coworker turned himself in for the crime.

Journalistic standards and common practice dictate that any follow-up to previous coverage must still summarize the initial incident. But in our coverage of what followed after Jones’ death – the shooting, the planning of the vigil and the vigil itself – we wrote in each piece the details of how she died, broken down into a paragraph.

That gets harder and harder each time.

Fifty-six-year-old Jones, a mother of two and a newlywed, was waiting for her usual bus to work. She listened to gospel music as she walked to the stop at 12th and Jefferson streets two blocks from Main Campus.

Randolph Sanders, 36, an assistant director at the nonprofit where they were both employed to help abused children, allegedly stalked Jones and shot her once in the back of the head. According to police, Sanders feared that Jones would report him for misallocating $40,000 in funds.

In surveillance video, Jones’ killer can be seen walking past the Fresh Grocer and Morgan Hall before boarding the northbound Broad Street Line subway and departing at Hunting Park station.

Video also caught the suspect walking to a vehicle owned by Sanders, hence the arrest.

At a university that says it is committed to both service and diversity, Jones’ death is especially tragic. Temple’s Good Neighbor Initiative encourages students to get involved in their community, yet a social worker is killed in cold blood in an area where plenty of students live during the school year.

As a community, we need students to act in the interest of North Philadelphia. But it becomes increasingly difficult to unite students for that cause when fear of crime persists in the wake of tragedy.

Kim Jones’ death is devastating for this community. But students nonetheless need to continue interaction and not shy from the neighborhood around them.

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