In recent months personal safety has become an issue of concern for students, faculty, staff and all those associated with the university. Following a spate of assaults, robberies and other forms of violence directed at students in the Georgetown neighborhood, many (including this newspaper) have called on the university administration to take concrete steps to increase the safety of the Georgetown community.

In its recent decision to expand the SafeRides service to areas of Burleith and West Georgetown, the administration has shown that it is serious about taking practical steps to address the problem. These new SafeRides services will ensure that many more people get home safely, without having to worry about what might happen to them on their walk back. Additionally, the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission’s decision to install new street lights should rob potential attackers of their cover and contribute to a safer atmosphere.

There are, however, other outstanding issues that remain. While the administration certainly cannot be held accountable for a crime problem that involves not only the surrounding neighborhood, but also the city at large, it should employ all the resources in its possession to ensure that students are able to go about their business without the threat of falling victim to violence. The fact that calls made to SafeRides occasionally go unanswered is worrying and this needs to be fixed immediately.

Furthermore, many of the emergency call boxes around campus are still inoperable. Although administrators are to be commended for putting pressure on the call box supplier to remove inoperable boxes, they must continue to push the company to ensure that new boxes can be up and running as soon as possible.

It is also important that the student community step up and do what it can to be a part of the solution. An excellent example of students taking the initiative to help their fellow Hoyas stay safe is the van rides service provided by the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. While it operates on the same principle as SafeRides, its specific goal is to get students home from the library late at night. The APO students who put time and effort into running this service are to be commended and have the gratitude of the Georgetown community.

Georgetown students should be encouraged that, as these recent developments show, solving the personal safety concerns of Georgetown students is not outside the university’s reach.

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