In recent weeks, the issue of safety on DCU campus has never been more pressing.
Following the armed robbery of the book shop ‘Hodges and Figgis’ last November, you may have thought that security in and around the campus would have been on high alert in order to eliminate threats to students such as this.
But just a couple of weeks ago two students were harassed in the Shanowen area just off the university grounds.
So, is the safety of students travelling to and from DCU at risk? And if so, why is nothing being done to stop the reoccurance of these incidents?
Welfare Officer of DCU Students’ Union, Neil Patrick Collins, seems to think that these incidents are few and far between.
“DCU is a very safe campus as we have a top class security team.
“This (the incident in Shanowen) was an isolated incident and these kind of things do not happen regularly here. They are extremely rare.”
Curious to find out if this really is the case, I contacted DCU Security Superintendent Raymond Wheatley in the hope of getting his views on the matter. However, unfortunately he failed to comment.
Perhaps his silence speaks volumes about their desire to keep students safe. Situated in an area where crime levels are quite high, many believe that security presence should be much higher than it actually is, especially in the surrounding areas as students travel to and from college.
Emma, a third year Journalism student, often finds herself having to walk home from the campus late at night, and she admits that the later she leaves DCU, the more frightened she feels.
“My area (close to Shanowen) isn’t very lit up. I’d be grand until about 10 pm but any time after that, I’d be a bit scared to walk on my own.
“My house was actually broken into just last week. They only took some money that one of my housemates had left in her room, but nonetheless it has made me feel quite unsafe in my own home.”
It certainly does seem that the level of criminal activity in the area is quite high compared to other universities. For instance, just last week I spoke to a fourth year student from UCD who has never heard of any such occurrences on their campus.
“In general, I think the mood on campus is that UCD is a pretty safe place. Nobody I know has ever had any issues or threats to their safety and I certainly wouldn’t feel threatened walking around campus because there seems to be a strong security presence 24/7.”
So maybe DCU students living just off campus are in fact falling victim to the crime in the area.
It would be unreasonable to expect security to patrol surrounding areas, but a higher level of awareness needs to be made of the risks of walking to and from college at night.
After all, the safety of students is still their responsibility even after they leave the university grounds.