Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
The recent attempted sexual assault of a female student living north of campus proves that the UA community must remain vigilant in its efforts to prevent such attacks.
While the headlines surrounding convicted rapist James Allen Selby faded last year after he committed suicide in the Pima County Jail, the threat posed by other individuals like Selby remains.
Since 2000 the Tucson Police Department has received 43 reports of sexual assault in the neighborhood north of the UA bounded by East Speedway Boulevard, North Campbell Avenue, East Euclid Avenue and North Grant Road, according to department records. The same area has also had 11 attempted sexual assaults reported and 26 calls regarding peeping Toms.
Contrast those numbers with the neighborhood east of the UA bounded by North Campbell Avenue, East Speedway Boulevard, East Sixth Street and North Tucson Boulevard, where police have received five reports of sexual assault and one call on a peeping Tom during the same time period. There have been no attempted sexual assaults reported to police in the area.
From the numbers, it's clear that the neighborhood north of the UA has become a target for perpetrators of dangerous sex crimes.
Student-residents living in the neighborhood can no longer afford to believe they're safe. More troubling than the number of sexual assaults in the neighborhood is the realization that turning a lock or shutting a window could have prevented many of the assaults and attempted assaults.
Preventing traumatizing sexual assaults is as simple as being aware of your surroundings and exercising common sense, said Sgt. Kerry Fuller, a TPD spokeswoman. Never walking alone late at night and always locking doors are just a few of the many tips available through TPD's Web site (www.tucsonaz.gov/police).
Students living in the neighborhood need to examine the property they rent and determine where safety devices such as deadbolts and window locks are needed. Property owners should step up as well, offering to make houses safer for their residents, free of charge.
Police are aware of the neighborhood problem and a crime prevention team has been pounding the pavement to educate residents, Fuller said.
Residents, working in conjunction with the city, can start looking into ways to better light the streets that are nearly pitch-black at night.
As Fuller said, "Any neighborhood can be a target."
However, students living north of campus can nearly eradicate the possibility of sexual assaults if they focus on preventing opportunities for predators.
Putting an end to sexual assaults can be done, but the entire community must focus on preventing the crimes. It all starts with locking a door.
Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Caitlin Hall, Ryan Johnson, Damion LeeNatali, Aaron Mackey, Mike Morefield and Tim Runestad.