The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Monday, August 15, 2005
CSI: College Park

If you've visited The Diamondback online lately (which most University of Maryland alumni like myself do, just admit it), you wouldn't even think you're reading a college newspaper. No, it's not because of the shoddy journalism or rental ads for overpriced Knox Boxes. It's the recent headlines that make you think you're holding the local section of The Baltimore Sun. It's hard to believe that articles with titles such as "Police charge Bowie resident in connection with shooting", "Student robbed at knife-point on campus", and "Student sexually assaulted in Courtyard lot" are being reported in a campus publication. Oh, and did I mention that all three of these articles were run in the same issue? Sure, we know College Park is situated right in the heart of an already crime-ridden Prince George's County, but the past few months have been anything but your typical car break-in (that was the norm, unfortunately). For goodness sake, a poor student was shot in the ass by some dick-slap thug for no apparent reason. Yes that's right, a 17 year old not affiliated with the university just decided to stroll around and shoot some innocent dude with a gun. Couple this with last spring's devastating off-campus arson that killed a student and severely injured another and we have a problem that needs to be addressed immediately.

What has caused this recent surge in criminal activity? The regentrification of several DC areas is certainly a factor. Many poverty-stricken families have been forced to move outside the city into neighboring PG County due to the increased rents and yuppie takeovers. It doesn't surprise me why College Park would be an ideal target for criminals. The campus itself has its own little metropolis, but once you venture outside and onto the streets of downtown CP, it's a whole other story. Here you have young, somewhat naive students just asking to be preyed upon by lurking criminals. The city can only do so much since it currently lacks its own police force. Only the University Police, who are currently underpaid and understaffed, run the show. It's a shame since the university is flourishing in terms of academic prestige and a heavyweight contender in athletics. The bottom line is something has to be done, especially since you have the fall semester starting in just a few short weeks. If crime has climbed to staggering highs this summer when the student population has been diminutive, one could only imagine what it will be like once September rolls around.

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