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New Measures Hope To Boost Security Around Campus

Shoko Oda |
August 27, 2014 | 9:45 a.m. PDT

Web Producer

Petitions by USC community pushed for safety measures to be reviewed. (Josie Huang/Twitter)
Petitions by USC community pushed for safety measures to be reviewed. (Josie Huang/Twitter)
The fall semester at USC began on a serious note when the USC administration sent an email concerning student safety both on and off campus. With the recent murder of Chinese graduate student Xinran Ji in July along with the murder of Chinese graduate students Ming Qu and Ying Wu back in 2012, student safety has become a more pressing issue. 

According to an email from USC President Nikias, security measures have been under review and have expanded in new ways. For example, neighborhood security ambassadors will now cover the surrounding USC neighborhood throughout the entirety of the year.

SEE ALSO: "USC Grad Student Found Dead In Apartment Near Campus"

In the last two years, nearly 60 additional cameras have been installed across campus and 30 police officers have been added to LAPD's Southwest Division—including the University campus.  Also, the Campus Cruiser program has reduced its wait times to 15 minutes and has expanded to cover more of the surrounding neighborhood.

One of the key security measure changes is the implementation of mandatory safety education for all incoming domestic undergraduates, as well as for both international undergraduate and graduate students. According to Gianni Chen, an international student at USC, the international student orientation in the past mentioned very little about safety in South Los Angeles. 

"I didn't know that South Central was a dangerous place, but I learned by myself overtime," said Chen. "In the international orientation they did things like show us the school, have a seminar on American culture and life and an icebreaker game that you do in a group."

The murder of Xinran Ji this summer sparked conversation among USC students, who created a petition demanding safety measures to be reviewed and more information on safety in the neighborhood.

Others believe that despite the new security measures, safety around campus will not change for the better. 

"I don't think much will change at all," said Lucy Zhang, a USC alumna who currently resides near campus.

Zhang also highlighted the difficulty in creating a safe neighborhood without completely closing off the campus to the outside community.

"I don't think building a fortress [fences] around USC will address this issue," said Zhang.

While the school measures are intended to boost security for students, some see personal safety as ultimately something that can only be improved by the decisions individuals make. 

"It's 50-50 school responsibility and student's own judgement," said Chen. "Ultimately as an international student I feel safer, but I still think that students should at least be aware of what they are doing." 

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