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Town Hall Meeting Addresses Safety Concerns

Tasbeeh Herwees |
April 13, 2012 | 6:17 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Police at the scene of the crime (Photo by Alan Mittelstaed)
Police at the scene of the crime (Photo by Alan Mittelstaed)
The tragic homicides of USC graduate students Ying Wu and Ming Qu have raised concerns among students about the safety and security of the local neighborhoods.

At a town hall meeting Friday hosted by the USC Viterbi School of Engineering -- where Wu and Qu were both studying as electrical engineering majors -- Viterbi Dean Yannis Yortsos and LAPD Deputy Chief Patrick Gannon attempted to soothe the worries of young graduate students.

“The area surrounding the university has had its challenges over the years,” said Deputy Chief Gannon, “That has changed dramatically.”

Gannon told the small audience of a few dozen students that the LAPD was engaging all its resources, including their relationship with the FBI, to solve the homicides of Wu and Qu, who were shot to death while sitting in a car parked on the 2700th block of Raymond Ave.

The police believe the crime was an isolated incident, and Gannon was adamant saying that it had nothing to do with the neighborhood, an area reputed for a high crime rate.

“Memories are very long when it comes to bad things. Memories are very short when it comes to good things,” said Gannon, “...You always have to be careful, even in the safest areas of Los Angeles.”

Captain David Carlisle of the University’s Department of Public Safety reiterated the same sentiment.

“Do not judge our neighborhood by one single crime,” he said.

Captain Carlisle said the University and LAPD were working hand-in-hand to provide surveillence to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Students had the opportunity to email their questions prior to the meeting. Many of the questions raised revolved around USC’s efforts to provide students with safe and secure places to live.

Amy, a 26-year-old graduate student from China who wishes to remain anonymous, believes the school has not done enough to provide affordable housing and safe transportation to the school.

“We don’t have enough housing in the safe areas,” Amy said. “And more and more students (are) living in areas where there is no coverage by the school shuttles.”

Amy says her parents have been recieving worried calls from relatives who heard about the slayings from the Chinese media. She says she’s never had to worry about crimes like this one before.

“Before, I (would) just worry about minor crimes -- robbery, theft,” she said.

A representative of USC’s student affairs, Denzil Suite, addressed these worries.

“USC has a very aggressive plan in place for University Village,” he said, referring to the USC Master Plan to renovate the surrounding areas, including the outdoor shopping mall to the north of campus. Suite promised the plan would provide students with affordable housing -- 60% of which would be reserved for graduate students.


Reach Tasbeeh Herwees here.



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