YR 47 Issue 1 2011
 
 
ISSUES
Theft, assault still rampant        
Statistics from the University Security Office showed that the number of reported crimes inside the campus has been decreasing gradually since 2008. Efforts to maintain the campus safe for Thomasians heightened to a new level through the deployment of civilian and patrolling guards inside and outside the University premises, not to mention the 16 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras appended on the University walls. Despite heightened measures to ensure the safety of students, crimes like theft and assault are still being reported to the Security Office.

Academic year 2008-2009 recorded 70 cases of crimes committed inside the campus, while only 66 cases were reported the following year. Last academic year was a safer year for Thomasians as the figure dropped and cut almost into half with 37 reported incidents. This academic year, only 18 reported cases were accounted for as of the first semester.

Despite this decline, various crimes are still reported to have been occurring within the University’s premises. An example of a modus operandi that victimized a fourth year Economics student who requested anonymity occurred last September. The student narrated that while she was walking along Dapitan at around nine in the morning; two girls approached her and told her that she had bubble gum on her hair. “I checked and saw chewed bubble gum all over my hair. It was so disgusting that was why I got distracted when all of a sudden two guys attacked and held me up. They were holding ribbed knives. I was not able to scream for help because I was too scared. They grabbed my purse then ran away, leaving me traumatized,” she said. “I was too scared to ask for help. I just rode a cab, went straight home, and paid the fare at home.”
She lost her Blackberry 9800, Blackberry 9700, iPod Classic, and P7,000 cash due to the incident.

Another robbery incident that was reported along Dapitan street involved a first year Asian Studies student. She narrated that when she arrived late in her morning class, she noticed that the front pocket of her bag was already unzipped, finding out later that both her money and credit card were missing. “I was really nervous and shocked that I texted my mom about the incident. I immediately asked her to freeze my account,” she said.

Meanwhile, another incident involving a fourth year Journalism student happened inside the campus just recently. It was past 10 in the evening when she and her group mate met in the Engineering building to work on their thesis.

“While we were working, a man wearing black
sando and shorts sat near us. I thought he was just a construction worker from the sports complex. The man made his move inch by-inch, and I was just caught off-guard when I found out that he was already sitting right next to me,” the student said

She further narrated that when they came face-to-face; the man pulled his shorts down, revealing his crotch. Out of shock, she quickly left the table, leaving her laptop behind. The man took the opportunity and grabbed the device.

“My friend asked him why he took my laptop. We even called his attention. He was about to leave when I shouted ‘
guard, guard magnanakaw ‘yan!’ Other people who heard me also shouted the same. The man was apprehended and was eventually brought to the Security Office where I filed my complaint,” she said.

According to UST Security Head Joseph Badinas, loss of personal belongings is the common complaint they receive. Scoundrels that enter the campus use the Church and the UST Hospital as alibis. He cited the Grandstand area as the hot spot where these incidents often occur.

Not enough

To ensure the security of students, the Security Office performs different safety strategies. Despite the efforts, security problems in UST still exist and students remain unsatisfied with the security measures.

Students complain that the number of security personnel the University provides is not sufficient to protect the entire population of the University. One of the victims who refused to be named said that “there are times when some guards neglect their duty.”

Arts and Letters Student Council (ABSC) Vice President External Rhodel Sazon emphasized that security protection must not only be exercised inside the University. He noted that the school perimeter should also be included, adding that student groups have been working on project proposals to solve security issues in campus. One of them is the installation of additional Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras to be placed on strategic locations covering the perimeter of the campus.

Ang proposal namin is to install CCTV cameras sa walls ng university kasi ‘yun yung immediate environment ng mga students paglabas nila ng school,” he said. Citing an incident wherein an Artlets student was stabbed last September near the Dapitan gate, Sazon hopes that additional CCTVs can help provide extra protection to students even outside the campus.

However, another student who requested anonymity said otherwise, “the University should just increase the number of guards instead of focusing more on CCTV cameras.” Meanwhile, Sazon pointed out that security guards must undergo continuous training and keep themselves up-to-date with the routines being practiced by scoundrels to effectively neutralize them.

Sana may continuous training ang mga security guards para informed sila kung ano yung mga nangyayaring masama ngayon... kung may continuous training sila, malalaman nila at magiging equipped sila,” he said.

Likening security guards’ jurisdiction to that of the military, Badinas claimed that security guards in UST has “territorial power” in the confines of the University “in order to ensure the safety of Thomasians.

Consisting of about 80 security guards, Badinas said that security protection in UST has two types—the so-called
full force used during regular school days and whenever there is an event inside the University; and the skeletal force, which makes use of fewer security guards, often used on Holidays and days wherein there
are no classes.

“Protecting the students is our main duty and fundamental priority as security guards,” Badinas said.

Students’ fault

Meanwhile, Badinas said that most of time, students become victims of crimes due to their own negligence.
Minsan, ang mga students din ang pabaya,” he said. Sazon pointed out the same thing saying that, “students go to school wearing jewelries, using expensive gadgets while walking on the street. Why do they do that if they know they are vulnerable? Walang magnanakaw kung wala silang nakikitang pwedeng nakawin,” Sazon said.

Badinas added that although they have done things to improve the security inside the campus, he complained that some students do not report vicious incidents they encounter inside the University.

“Students should report such incidents to the office for record purposes. Through this, we can do something about it and even tap the police for proper coordination,” Badinas said in Filipino. Sazon’s solution to this problem is to have a solid information dissemination campaign.

Pwedeng magkaroon ng information dissemination campaign para alam ng mga students kung saan magre-report o magtatanong kapag may ganoong nangyari sa kanila o sa mga kakilala nila,” he said.

Preventive measures

The security office blacklisted several personalities apprehended inside the University for illicit acts to prevent them from entering the campus. Security personnel are ordered to peruse the “blacklist book” before manning their respective post. According to Badinas, reported crimes inside the University are forwarded to the proper authorities with or without the student’s complaint. F
Year 47 |  Issue 3 |  2011
Thomasians remain periled
despite decline in crime rate
By CHRISTINE DIANE R. ALMANZOR AND CELINDA A..MERCADO
Year 47 |  Issue 4 |  2012