October 13, 2011
It seems the City of Williamsburg has been hit by a crime wave, or at least a crime spree by Williamsburg standards. Recently, the community has seen above-average criminal activity, such as muggings at knifepoint. Either way, students at the College of William and Mary should realize that our community doesn’t end at the sidewalk of Jamestown and Richmond Roads, and that sometimes, our community is affected by troubling, if not dangerous, situations.
Although we don’t think students should be overly concerned by these occurrences, we at least need to be attentive when walking around the community, whether on- or off-campus. It is important for students to understand that Williamsburg is not just a sunny little retirement home for rich, elderly folk in their glory years. The Williamsburg community is more than that; it is more dynamic than that. Unfortunately, that means there are negative things that happen in Williamsburg because of some individuals’ actions.
It belies our ignorance if we just assume our university is located in the safest town on the planet. Students say they are aware of the city’s concerns, but we don’t think this is necessarily always the truth. It is up to the College to inform students about problems and crimes facing the city.
Vice President of Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88 Ph.D. ’06 is responsible for sending out an email describing criminal activities to the College community. The email usually is sent a few days after the incident occurred, so the emails are always reactive rather than proactive. Furthermore, as students, we aren’t told about the resources available outside of the College. This only reinforces the idea that we live in a safe bubble that isn’t involved with the happenings of the Williamsburg community. The fact is, we don’t. Instances of stolen bikes and vandalized cars are constant reminders that we do not live in a crime-free community.
The College needs to address these problems by updating security on campus and increasing education about campus-safety. The absence of security cameras around campus means that, in the case of a crime, there is no documentation for police officers. As for the blue lights, students supposedly are able to see another blue light while standing at one. This simply isn’t true. The College should do more to protect students or at least to inform students on being more safe on campus. One solution would be to add more safety information regarding both the College campus and Williamsburg to Orientation sessions or in some other way.
We are thankful that no one has been injured in these events, but students need to take precaution. We urge students to use common sense when going on a late-night run or walking through Colonial Williamsburg. Students need to be aware of their surroundings and always need to report suspicious or dangerous behavior to the appropriate authority.