There has been a recent increase in criminal activity, pertaining mostly to the harassment of young women, at UVa and the surrounding Charlottesville area. This past month, two unsuccessful abductions, along with a number of burglaries, have taken place close to grounds. There were also two separate reports of a male entering a women’s bathroom in one of the McCormick Road dorms, one of which involved the filming a female student while she was showering.
Many students, especially women, feel uneasy about these recurring situations and are concerned for their safety.
“I was shocked when I heard about the recent attempted abductions,” said first year student Elza Thomas. “[T]he campus feels like a safe bubble for me, and it is hard for me to accept that such occurrences can happen. It makes me sad to think that nowhere is safe.”
First year Sydney Koelsch added that although she is not personally concerned for her safety because she always travels in groups, the sharp increase in criminal activity is an issue that cannot be ignored.
“College students shouldn’t have to be worried about harassment or abduction, but unfortunately that’s our reality,” she said. “My one suggestion would be to put more streetlights…by the Corner or Rugby Road area.”
Thomas admitted that she now takes precautionary measures to ensure her own safety on grounds.
“I used to stay out late in the library, but now I have made a commitment to not stay out as late as 10 pm on the weekdays,” she explained. “I have also continued to make sure that I walk with someone else if I am going anywhere late at night.”
To combat the issue of unwanted visitors, a new policy has been implemented by Housing and Residence Life Management. It requires all bathroom doors in the McCormick Road dorms to remain closed; they can now only be opened by residents with access to the code.
“I think the new policy is fine as long as residents take the initiative to stay in accordance with it,” said Koelsch, who resides in old dorms. “However, I do believe the new dorms with swipe access have a much better and safer policy in place.”