The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Editorial – How many rapes will it take?

Actions to potentially solve the crime problem on the Pershing Park stairs and pathway exist. But they’ll never be carried out until college officials stop downplaying the crimes as isolated incidents.

In the past, Santa Barbara police officials and City College administrators were openly telling students to avoid using the stairs at night. Today, they tell us the same thing.

The Channels thanks the college for the friendly alert, but believes it’s the least they can do to keep students safe.

The only excuse for a campus area students are told to not trust is money.

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With the college facing a large civil suit for a rape committed by a man who also allegedly assaulted another woman at the Pershing Park stairs, you would think the college would take every measure possible to ensure student’s safety. If not for the obvious altruistic concerns, the college could at minimum protect its pocketbook.

In 30 years, three known women have been raped, according to Channels records. In the last 11, two students were assaulted and two others robbed. In those same years, numerous reports of other illegal activities were filed.

No other place on campus sports such a black eye.

Repeatedly in the The Channels and News-Press, administrators have downplayed the history of crime at this location.

In the March 25 News-Press, Joe Sullivan, vice-president of Business Services, was quoted saying, “There haven’t been that many issues, but it’s a place where there’s a lot of potential for it.”

The statement that there haven’t been many issues isn’t true. The Pershing Park stairs and pathway are a problem with a documented crime history unlike any other area on campus.

We may be naive to believe that the campus can be safe corner-to-corner. But we would rather be naive than throw in the towel on student safety. The college needs to own up to this problem and actively seek solutions.

The new lights are a step in the right direction. But the lights will work better if the brush is consistently cleared from the path, not only as a reaction to the latest crime in the area.

It’s the same with the security officers.

For example, a student working 11 hours a week at their first security job does not deter crime. The college must hire a well-trained, better-armed professional security officer for the area.

Former security directors have repeatedly told Channels reporters the reason that crimes are not being logged properly stems from high-turnover rates within the security department. If they couldn’t log crimes properly, how would they protect women from being raped?

If the college is going to continue staffing most of its security unit with students, it should ensure students work 19.5 hours a week at the maximum pay rate. It’s a matter of experience.

Telling students to avoid the area is not a solution; it’s ignoring a problem that must be addressed and then solved.

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