Posts Tagged ‘safety’

How Safe Is Stanford??

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

A recent report by the University’s Department of Public Safety tells two stories, one of progress and another of lingering concerns.

On one hand, Stanford’s cops have made major gains in reducing crime across a swath of categories, including burglaries, liquor law arrests, and drug violations. On the other, 12 students suffered forcible sexual assaults last year, and bike theft remains a major problem on campus.

Bike theft remains a major problem on campus. Column 1 refers to year, column 2 to student residences, column 3 to on-campus, column 4 to non-campus, and column 6 to total thefts. According to the footnote, statistics on bike theft are being voluntarily tracked by Stanford University as of 2009.

Always an option if you are really running late to class.

In fairness, bike theft is extremely difficult to prevent, given the size of our campus and the number of places where such incidents could occur. However, these numbers are completely unacceptable. With all of the resources at this university’s disposal, no Stanford student should have to fear for their safety or for the theft of often-expensive property.

In addition, the Office of Alcohol Policy and Education (OAPE) saw 72 students last year, 59 of whom were underage. The most common referral to OAPE is for intoxication. These incidents are disciplinary actions, and there was a slight uptick from 52 students in 2010 and 61 in 2009. Data on DUIs were not available in the report.

Another interesting tidbit in the report revealed the causes of fires in the past three years. These included a water heater fire, a trash fire, a box of T-shirts left on the stove (Storey), and burning books and paper (FloMo). I’m guessing the frequent popcorn-induced fire alarms were not included in the report; otherwise, they would require their own special section.

Finally, the report provided some useful information that I had never encountered before:

  • Apparently, there is a Freshman Emergency Ride Home Program that, according to the report, “provides taxi service back to campus for freshmen who are caught without a ride or are in an emergency situation (within eight miles of campus). Freshmen must pre-register at: http://transportation.stanford.edu/erh, using Yellow Cab of Palo Alto, account # 300-350. For more information, call (650) 321-1234 or (888) 512-1234.” Freshmen get up to four free rides…probably beats waiting for 5-Sure.
  • Those Cal fans can get a bit rowdy….

    The Department for Public Safety teaches a 1-unit Community Police Academy class in winter quarter (LAWGEN 209Q) that, among other things, includes pursuit practice in the driving simulators at The Police Academy in San Jose.

  • Public Safety offers free threat or vulnerability assessments of any building, lab, or facility on campus. The assessment entails a walk-through of the building by their personnel with the building or facility manager. For anyone worried about fire hazards, these are your people to call.

Criticisms aside, Public Safety has unquestionably been working hard. Last year, their Records Division took 185 police reports, assisted 9,281 people over the phone, and helped more than 3,354 walk-in customers. A renewed focus on bike theft and forcible sexual assault would go a long way to ensuring that this campus is as safe as it can be.

 

Crônicas do Brasil: A Vida Brasileira

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro. When Jobim and Moraes wrote "Garota de Ipanema," this is probably what they had in mind.

I have now been in Spain for close to a month with BOSP Madrid. Posts on the Iberian Peninsula are in the pipeline. For the moment, though, I would like to present a cultural wrap-up on Brazil that I never had time to do while I was working in São Paulo this summer. If you are not yet excited for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, maybe this will get you started.

First, let it be known that São Paulo is not a conventionally beautiful city. Miles of concrete with few trees, vistas dominated by powerlines and graffiti, and a certain lack of cleanliness make it appear pretty bleak and inhospitable on cloudy days, of which there are a fair amount. Large parts of the city center are completely abandoned at night; there is one neighborhood called Cracolândia because its streets are literally full of crack addicts, who reside right next to the city’s most beautiful railway station. If you live any further than ten minutes by car from work, your daily commute is usually a pitched battle against jammed six-lane avenues, irregular U-turns, and the caprices of aggressive paulista drivers.

Yet São Paulo is unlike any other place I have seen, and I already miss it. The city has a cultural richness rivaling New York’s and plenty of charm if you know where to look. Its size is awe-inspiring. And to put it another way, São Paulo is the best answer to the question of what you would get if you stuck together 18 million Brazilians with a New York work schedule, an LA transit system, and the sensuality of Miami (which, coincidentally, has a large Brazilian population).

What’s more, São Paulo bears little resemblance to the rest of Brazil. The country is almost the size of the U.S. but far more regionalized, so that each state has its own traditions, holidays, food, dialects, and climate. Other Brazilian cities are magnificent in their own ways, and then beyond them is an ecological paradise with few parallels in the rest of the world. (more…)