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The Blue & Gray Press | February 21, 2018

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Staff Editorial: UMW’s strive to keep students safe is commendable

On a campus the size of the University of Mary Washington, the threat of crime seems far-removed. The university’s signature columns, brick pathways, and fresh green lawns all evoke a sense of familiarity, and, therefore, security.

Recent events, however, have challenged the university’s inviolability.

On Thursday, March 20, a stabbing occurred at the 7-11 on Dandridge Street, just within striking distance of campus. The suspect was later spotted near the Alvey Parking Lot. Later, on Tuesday, April 1, a “robbery / stabbing” took place outside the Navy Credit Union ATM on Route 1. Drawing from these reports, it seems as though the frequency of violent crime is on the rise.

According to Neighborhood Scout, there are 1.9 violent crimes per one thousand residents in the state of Virginia. The city of Fredericksburg, however, places much higher with 4.3 violent crimes per one thousand residents.

Undeniably, the University has taken ample measure to ensure the safety of the student body. With the Blue Light Phone System, students may locate and activate one of the posts around campus. Once activated, the Emergency Communication Office in Brent Hall will aid the student in need of assistance. Similarly, students may contact the Emergency Communication Center by calling “4444” on a campus phone, or “1-540-654-4444” on a cellular phone.

The immediacy of crime, however, does not always permit the time or access to such services. The university’s newest security system, Alert UMW, is a multi-medium service which informs students of criminal activity through text, call and email. Alert UMW abides with the Clery Act, which mandates U.S. colleges to inform their faculty and students of ongoing crime. While being informed may not guarantee the evasion of crime, it may certainly lower the risk of becoming a victim.

April is a month fraught with exams and highly stressful assignments. It is the month in which the Hampton University shooting took place in 2009, and also the month in which the Virginia Tech massacre took place in 2007. However regardless of the time of year, it is always advisable for students to be aware of their surroundings. “If you see something, say something,” as the old saying goes.

Students should take advantage of the provisions UMW has taken and register with the new UMW Alerts system, if they have not already done so.