Would you feel comfortable leaving your wallet or purse on a New York subway? What about in an alleyway in Rome?
Most of us would probably hesitate to leave a valuable object out of our sight in public places, especially if we had any desire to keep it.
Many students, however, would consider the tight-knit community of the University of Dallas an exception to this rule.
That is, until stolen backpacks in the Church of the Incarnation on campus became a problem.
Last week, a student reported that his backpack had been stolen after he had left it unattended near the entrance of the Church of the Incarnation for a few minutes. The backpack contained his wallet, cash and a laptop. And as unfortunate and shocking as an incident like this is at UD, it is hardly the first time this has happened.
Perhaps this is a regular occurrence because the church is always unlocked or because, at certain times, it is mostly empty, making it all the more easy for a thief to remain unseen. But whatever the reason, the vestibule of the Church of the Incarnation has proven to be a prime target for thieves.
As sad as it is to have to ask this question, clearly it must be asked: why are there no cameras in the vestibule? Not only would a camera help Campus Safety identify the perpetrators, but it would also prevent many future crimes.
According to a Campus Security officer, one reason for the inaction in this regard is the fact that while the Church of the Incarnation is located on the UD campus, it is a separate entity from UD, complicating the chain of command. But, a little bureaucracy is no excuse to neglect the safety and well-being of students.
A day after the stolen backpack was reported last week, CSO received a report of a suspicious person in the Church of the Incarnation who was not a student and had no reason to be on campus.
It is certainly possible that this individual had something to do with the stolen backpack, yet without the proper tools to identify the thief (a.k.a. a camera), CSO could only escort the person off campus.
It is highly disappointing to have to worry about these kinds of incidents at UD, regardless of whether the perpetrator is a student or a stranger.
A trusting community has always been a defining characteristic of our school, allowing administration in the past to simply expect nothing less than complete honesty from students.
Yet how many warnings against plagiarism and cheating have we all heard from professors? More warnings have been required recently to prevent dishonesty in the classroom, and more are required now to prevent it elsewhere on campus.
“It’s fine. It’s UD.”
That’s a common saying on campus during move-in week when a student is debating whether or not to leave a suitcase unattended for a minute while he or she retrieves more luggage from the car.
Yet, unfortunately, that attitude is growing more imprudent on campus in light of recent episodes. The UD community is founded on truth and a sense of universal charity. A stolen backpack may seem insignificant, but these kinds of problems are threatening the identity of UD.
A camera in the vestibule of the Church of the Incarnation is the first step required to ensure the safety of students. Nonetheless, the effort to uphold the standards of the school is in the hands of every person who is a part of the UD community.