After the reported kidnapping on campus, we asked students if they feel safe at NYU
Despite the increased security, not everyone thinks that it’s enough
On March 25th, an NYU student reportedly witnessed a kidnapping in the proximity of Washington Square Park at 1:30am.
Following several criminal reports to the NYPD, fellows students' fears and doubts regarding safety might not be unfounded.
NYU's 'no-campus' situation has long been a topic of both critique and praise. Personally, as an eternal lover of urban life's chaos, I am enamored with its loud traffic, the angry businessmen devoted to bumping into me each morning, and the sweet scent of pollution. Living in downtown New York is nothing short of a dream come true. Street hot dogs, raw insults/cat calls from the homeless and public urination… 'tis what dreams are made of.
Sarcasm aside, the romantic grittiness takes a negative turn onto Reality Avenue with the rise of crime rates, especially within what is considered NYU's pseudo-campus. In the span of five days alone, from the 22nd to the 27th of March, students have reported numerous cases of rape, robbery, larceny and kidnapping to the NYPD.
Curious to understand my fellow students' thoughts on the matter, I set out to learn the numerous points of view.
In interviewing different students, I was met by only one response that saw NYU's campus as partially not secure. CAS freshman Katelyn Jones said she "definitely [does not] feel safe on campus due to the fact that the city is incorporated within the campus, but [does] feel comfortable in the fact that we're in security-guarded buildings."
The other students I spoke with came to a majority consensus that indicated they feel a sense of safety within the NYU campus:
Sofia Licir, LS, freshman: "I think NYU is safe to an extent but, since we don't have a campus really, it can be dangerous at times"
Angela Brito, GLS, freshman: "I do think that NYU campus is safe " […] " I always feel that there's someone that can help me in that kind of situation."
Ariana Bhatia, Stern, freshman: "Yes I feel very safe on NYU's campus. I think it's really amazing that we have security, and it's really monitored who comes into campus and not."
Irene Soekiswo, Stern, freshman: "I definitely do feel safe on NYU campus like many have said. We do have a lot of guards and I feel like compared to other colleges we have more security "in that, even just to enter, we have checkpoints were they check our ID."
However, the center piece and, arguably, most disturbing section of the article, is founded on a conversation I had on the topic of city safety I stumbled upon by sheer coincidence. Discussing the topic of a girl's walk back home after a late night out, be it a after birthday party, an outing to Times Square, or casual drinks with friends, the city's dark, unpredictable corners can be a source of fear for young women. In these situations, NYC's "expect the unexpected" motto might not exactly be the most reassuring.
My friend, a CAS female freshman who wishes to remain anonymous, told me about a concerning incident she had with NYU's Safe Ride service. Returning from a late night spent with family, she had reached Sixth Avenue and 10th, just two blocks away from Rubin Hall where she lives, when she realized she was being followed by an uncomfortably provocative stranger. The man, who was loud and most likely drunk, followed her, verbally assaulting her with sexual names and was getting increasingly irritated at her silence. She devised an escape plan, and took refuge in what she thought would be a safe haven: the local dollar-pizza place. To her surprise, the vulgar man entered the store after her, rambling on in his one-sided conversation, growing more and more aggressive by the minute. As a last resort, my friend called NYU's Safe Ride service as she found herself in a dangerous situation, fearing for her safety. Despite her insistence on the degree of fear she was experiencing at the time, the NYU Safe Ride operator refused her request, allegedly replying it was "not standard procedure" to pick her up as she was "not located in an NYU building." Instead, the lady very constructively suggested my friend walk home. How did the affair conclude? My friend downloaded Uber, ordering her first car, and getting charged $6 for a two-block ride.
On a concluding note, my personal opinion is pretty straightforward: in making the conscious decision to attend a campus-less university fully submerged in an urban landscape, NYU students should be fully aware of and prepared for what that might entail. Moreover, inasmuch as it is our choice to attend NYU, it's definitely also the job of the university's safety department to better adjust to the students' requests, particularly in scenarios of danger, and consider changing their policies as a result.