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Naivete on Security


THE RESULTS of a poll taken last week in Kirkland House showing that the majority of students believe the House should leave its entryway doors unlocked signals the regrettable naivete with which most Harvard students view the problem of campus security. Unfortunately, the dangers of urban life affect students as well as local residents, as the rape of two Leverett House students last month sadly demonstrates. The task of dealing with the problem requires students to accept maturely the responsibility that living together in a community implies, and to be willing to sacrifice some of the niceties of so-called college life to the necessity of self-protection.

The decision to lock entryway doors is only a first step. The University police have for several years sponsored lectures on student safety, which have unfortunately enjoyed only sparse attendance. Students should realize the necessity of knowing how to deal with threats to safety, and cooperate with the police not only by attending such lectures, but also by willingly presenting identification when asked.

At the same time, Harvard's police administration should recognize that student vigilance alone cannot prevent crime. Prevention is a good first step, but a strong police force is also an essential deterrent. Yet for almost three years, the budget-conscious University police administration has hired no new officers, and the size of the force has declined by attrition to a point where officers complain that they cannot adequately patrol their beats. The police administration should seriously consider hiring more officers, despite the added expense this might incur. Personal safety is too vital to be sacrificed, either to student carelessness or to an ill-conceived bureaucratic concern for cost-cutting.

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