Editorial: UP should focus on reducing crime, not debauchery

It’s important to set your priorities wisely, whether you’re a student who is trying to decide between writing a paper and going to the Keg or a linebacker trying to decide whether to pick up coverage on a slot receiver or blitz the backfield.

But it’s a lot more important to set your priorities if you’re a police officer. When a police department makes its priorities saving lives, stopping crime and putting bad guys in tiny rooms with barred windows, cops are seen as heroes — and rightly so.

But in Evanston, cops aren’t always seen as heroes. Instead, they’re seen as men and women who happily will hand you a ticket for having a headlight out and gladly give you a citation for daring to stand on the sidewalk while holding a plastic cup filled with beer.

Evanston Police Department and University Police alike did nothing in the past two weeks to change that perception. On Sept. 27, Communication senior Bryan Glenn was robbed near his home in the 800 block of Hamlin Street at gunpoint of $30 just three blocks from campus. EPD responded very quickly to the incident and they should be lauded for their efforts.

But the armed robbery was the third case in the past six months of a student being the victim of a crime in that area, and UP has not announced any efforts to beef up patrols in the area.

They did, however, make sure to beef up their patrols at Ridge Avenue and Noyes Street this weekend, in response to complaints of loud parties from residents. Ald. Joseph Kent (5th) convened meetings Tuesday and Thursday nights when Evanston residents described several acts of rude behavior performed by Northwestern students, such as urinating in bushes and verbally assaulting home owners.

Why similar outcries over crime on Hamlin, in the very same ward, haven’t been voiced is beyond us.

William Banis, NU’s vice president for student affairs, said in an e-mail sent to the entire campus UP would be helping EPD patrol the area looking for “groups of students who are drinking at large parties and disturbing the peace of that area.”

Although it’s certainly reasonable to expect better behavior from NU students partying off campus, we at The Daily believe armed robbery is a more severe problem than urinating on bushes.

Students and the Evanston community would be served better if UP put the focus of its off-campus patrolling efforts on the few blocks near Englehart Hall instead of focusing on student parties at Ridge and Noyes.

It’s just a matter of priorities.