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Safety needed for our home

Observer Editorial | Friday, November 8, 2013

Drivers making their way up Notre Dame Avenue are treated to a view of the golden dome framed by twin lines of trees, which is arguably among the most beautiful sights on campus.
Once the car makes the loop at Main Circle and the driver turns his back on the pristine vista, that same road leads directly into an area of South Bend that lately has been peppered with crime reports, from assault to armed robbery.
The area immediately south of Notre Dame’s campus has received a lot of attention recently for reports of violent crime, many of which have directly affected Notre Dame students. The South Bend Tribune reported on Oct. 27 that police had been called to Brothers Bar and Grill at 1234 N. Eddy Street on 95 occasions in 2013, including an incident around 3 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20, when gunshots were fired into a large crowd near the bar.
We often tend to think of our beautiful campus as a bubble of sorts, a safe haven full of nice people isolated from the “real world.” To some extent, this bubble extends to the area across from Irish Green, near O’Rourke’s Public House and the other properties at the north end of Eddy Street Commons. Compared to the 95 police calls to Brothers, the Tribune reported that O’Rourke’s had received only 13 calls this year. It’s frightening to think that following the roads away from campus leads to increased risk of becoming a victim to any crime, from vehicle theft to gun violence.
On the other hand, sometimes the crimes come to us, such as the Oct. 17 robbery NDSP reported taking place outside McGlinn Hall.
Students want to enjoy a college experience both on campus and in the city of South Bend.
University leaders want students to think of this place as their home under the dome.
But everyone wants to feel safe, whether they live under the dome or not.
A healthy sense of fear is necessary for Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students these days. We can’t be careless, reckless or too cautious when it comes to taking care of ourselves and those around us. It starts with staying informed – check out www.crimereports.com and type in any address near campus. Adjust the search options to display all incidents reported in the last 30 days, and see for yourself where crimes are happening and how those incidents could affect you.
The University wants us to stay safe just as much as we want to remain so. Students living off campus need better communication from the Off Campus Council so they can be aware of incidents that could have affected them and so they can take precautionary measures.
Students considering the move off campus shouldn’t have to make the decision based solely on personal safety reasons, but at this point, they should check the crime reports for their potential neighborhoods as much as they look into the costs and amenities of their units.
We would feel safer on campus with more emergency call stations throughout the grounds and with a more obvious police presence on the fringes of campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods. We want to be assured that at any hour of the night, SafeWalk or Notre Dame Security Police will escort us to wherever we need to be.
We don’t want to invest in a South Bend community that can’t or won’t take care of us. After all, it is difficult for us to feel at home here if we are scared to leave the shadow of the dome.