Logic needed to avert on-campus theft

by Beacon Staff • March 28, 2007

library, a student left her belongings unattended so she could visit a vending machine and grab a soda.Not surprisingly, her laptop, iPod and mobile phone, among other items, were nowhere to be found when she returned just under 15 minutes later.,On a recent evening in Emerson's

library, a student left her belongings unattended so she could visit a vending machine and grab a soda.

Not surprisingly, her laptop, iPod and mobile phone, among other items, were nowhere to be found when she returned just under 15 minutes later.

It's a sad fact students can't leave belongings alone for a few moments without them being stolen.

The student has launched a crusade to increase security on campus, an effort that can be appreciated by any Emersonian familiar with the sometimes sketchy neighborhood surrounding us.

But should we expect our school to beef up security because of occasional thiefs victimizing students not exercising necessary anti-theft precautions and common sense?

The college is not responsible for the safety and security of students'

personal belongings. If it were, college coffers would be sucked clean by claims from every student who had a cellphone swiped or a laptop looted.

Every Emersonian needs to take responsibility for him- or herself and his or her belongings.

Take a look around at the city we live in. While relatively safe in most areas, Boston still suffers the criminal blights that plague any other major metropolitan area. And while it would be nice to think everyone here is honest and upstanding, it still isn't the case. It will never be.

Pushing for Emerson to impose uncessarily strict safety precautions

to prevent thefts is akin to holding the college responsible for the crime.

Sound familiar?

It's not far off from holding fast-food restaurants responsible for obesity, cigarette companies for cancer or drug dealers for an overdose.

In each case, consumers make a choice to purchase a product that can do them harm, a decision that no one makes except themselves.

Likewise, we are responsible for how we protect our personal effects.

Few people would find it sensible

to walk around city streets with fat wads of cash visible to passers-by. Why should a student expect the enticing lure of free electronics left out in the open to avoid a potential thief's grip?

Should we now expect the city of Boston to pay for items people leave out on the street but get carted off by nefarious hoodlums?

Are police departments responsible for homes victimized during robberies simply because they failed to prevent a crime in the first place?

Certainly not.

It's not that difficult for every Emersonian to accept personal responsibility for their valuables.

That's old-fashioned common sense that's ripe for the taking.