I remember when I felt completely safe walking around KU at night. It was the first semester I transferred here, in the Spring of 2011, before the assaults, the thefts, and the vandalism. Or, at least until these assaults, thefts, and vandalisms were broadcast on the evening news.

These days, it seems like we can’t go one weekend without hearing about another rape, car theft, or assault on Main Street. I, for one, am sick of hearing about these instances. So, I ask: What happened to KU? Why is this school suddenly becoming less and less safe?

One explanation for the rise in crime is KU’s location. We are right in between Allentown and Reading, two urban cities with the unfortunate population of gangs. It’s rumored that some gangs will take new members into the rural area of Kutztown for their initiation, which would explain the rise in thefts and vandalism. Kutztown is a small, friendly community – an easy target for gang initiation.

But what about the rise in sexual assaults and rapes? These cannot be coming from the Allentown and Reading gangs. Unfortunately, it’s looking like these crimes are because of KU students, or their supposed friends. Sexual assaults and rapes occur on virtually every college campus; they’re just something that sadly is to be expected. But that still doesn’t explain why there’s a sudden rise.

On the KU website, Public Safety has published a crime report for the years 2008-2010. While this report is not exactly accurate, it shows the rise of aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, and sex offenses over the years. KU students can attest; we receive alert after alert (either through e-mail or text message) of these crimes – the latest being on Sept. 19 about an attempted vehicle theft in a north campus parking lot.

I thought moving away from my first school in New York would bring with it a renewed feeling of safety. I attended a university on Long Island, 40 minutes from the city and 15 minutes from the scariest parts of Queens and Brooklyn. Up there, I was right to be scared driving around at night. But down here, in one of the most rural parts of PA – we even have Mennonites for neighbors – I’m starting to walk a bit faster at night, looking over my shoulder like I’m back in New York.

I know this area; I grew up 25 minutes down 222, and frequently spent time (and money) at Premise Maide. I shouldn’t be afraid to walk back to my car after a long night in the library. It’s one thing to have to walk in groups down Main Street at night; it’s completely another to be on the phone with your boyfriend as you speed-walk back to your dorm at midnight.

By Mary Pickett


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