The other day I received an email from a resident, much concerned about the recent string of robberies in downtown College Park.
She writes: College Park is looking REALLY BAD on the news. I think the council’s #1 priority has to be stopping all the robberies!!! What do the contract police and UM police really do? I think the UM police should be kept off of Univ Blvd and Metz RD and spend their time in the Rte 1 Lakeland Area. I love CP, but the robberies are ridiculous!!!
I took the resident’s email for a brief discussion among my colleagues on the Council. It looks like in addition to the robbery incidents that the resident was referring to, the media had a number of coverage following the shooting death of two University of Maryland students.
Here is one report on the Washington Post that talks about how the recent crime emails and alerts are making residents and students nervous about the public safety situation in College Park. Here is the paper says:
Despite what students and their tuned-in parents think, crime at U-Md. has fallen in recent years, as it has on college campuses across the country. Some police officials blame the proliferation of systems that send out public safety alerts via e-mail, text and Twitter for fueling the false idea that universities are unsafe.
What the paper is saying is that more public information is available now more rapidly. If we get various alerts from different sources about the same few incidents it could appear that there were more incidents than actually occurred.
Contrary to what appears to be a very bad situation, the recent crime data does not quite support that. The crime rates in the city and the county are consistently going down, and as a whole this City is safer than before.
That said, I still think sending out accurate crime data to residents is a good thing to do. They provide good information to residents and often the residents take precautions in preventing them through programs like Neighborhood Watch. Leaving them in the dark on these vital crime data will only make situation worse.
Please let me know your thoughts on this.