Janee Banks is a student at the University of Maryland. She is working with a group of students in the Communication Department on a project to encourage civic communication in the College Park community between students, locals, Prince George’s Police, and the University Police.
As a senior at this university, I love College Park as much as the next student. However, over the last four years I’ve seen on and off-campus safety become an increasingly pressing issue.
It seems there are articles every week in the Diamondback about crimes in College Park. Crime is to be expected as a city grows, and there is no question that over these last few years College Park has been transforming and expanding. Most of that transformation has been beneficial, but this city has also transformed into something I never thought it would be. It has become dangerous, and a city in which it appears, that ensuring the safety of the community has been put on the back burner.
Seriously, in the last year alone there were 13 murders in 13 days, stabbings, muggings, and sexual assaults. It seems like the level of crime in the city is only rising and really getting out of control.
Also, let’s not forget about the riot last year that made national news. I know the student’s haven’t. Since the riot there has definitely been tension between the students and the police. I think it’s fair to say that a lot of students do not trust the police and question whether the police have their best interests in mind.
From a student’s perspective, we see police concentrating on closing bars, breaking up parties, and issuing massive numbers of tickets. What we do not see them doing is protecting us, and the College Park community. They seem to be right there to break up a party, but we question where they are when those same students are walking home and get mugged and assaulted.
I, much like my peers, think it’s time for the City to reassess their priorities, and make College Park safe again. If you are concerned with the safety of College Park, come to the College Park Town Hall forum tomorrow April 6, 2011 in Jimenez Hall from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Don’t you want to know what’s being done to protect your community? Then come out and voice your opinion about the safety of College Park.