By Childs, Ronald E.
Black Issues in Higher Education , Vol. 11, No. 17
Crime Goes to College: Book Lists 'Safest' and 'Most Dangerous' College. Towns
Crime at College: The Student Guide to Personal Safety By Curtis Ostrander and Joseph Schwartz (New Strategist Books, Ithaca, NY, 1994, 202 pp. $24.95)
by Ronald E. Childs
Ever-increasing percentages of first-year college students continue to bypass commuting, opting instead to pursue higher education by becoming a part of that unique experience called "campus life."
Once a virtual haven from the ominous perils of neighboring community streets, campus-living has markedly changed for the worse.
Not so surprisingly, rising campus crime statistics at universities all across America of late dangerously parallel the seemingly rampant lawlessness in numerous major urban centers. And, woefully, many such institutions remain reluctant even to report these telling numbers accurately -- let alone take any steps to curtail them.
Authors Curtis Ostrander and Joseph Schwartz -- a 20-year investigator and college-town police captain from Ithaca, NY, and a former reporter covering the crime beat for the major daily newspaper in that city, respectively, have put their pens to paper to provide current, and prospective, students with information they can use to cope as campus residents.
Their new book, "Crime At College: The Student Guide To Personal Safety" details a host of strategies that both on- and off-campus dwellers can effectively utilize to protect themselves, as well as their personal property.
"We hope that this book will help students use the most important self-defense weapon they have: Their heads," say the authors. "Awareness of crime is the key to prevention."
Left in the Dark
Beginning with examinations of just what range of offenses college town crime ritually entails, and then further expounding on such pertinent issues as how to find a safe apartment, how to live away from home, what not to bring to school and ways students can protect themselves, Ostrander and Schwartz outline step-by-step, and in reader-friendly fashion, things that many of us probably wish our parents had told us before we left home and learned by doing.
"Until recently, students have been left in the dark about campus crime," the authors write. "Some college administrators cover up crimes that could adversely affect their institution's image. …