Editorial: Local crime should be addressed

Six.

That’s the number of violent crimes the Northern Star has reported on since Aug. 27, our first day of publication this semester.

With the exception of two near shootings in which police suspect gang activity, reported on Aug. 29, all of these occurred near campus and involved our peers.

On Aug. 27, the Star reported on a pizza delivery driver who was robbed while on duty. On Aug. 30, on suspects sought in a strong-arm robbery. And more recently, last Thursday, on an arrest that was made in a random attack of a student.

That same day, the Star also reported that DeKalb police were seeking four suspects in an attempted sexual assault.

These crimes account for multiple robberies, two shootings, a random attack and a sexual assault in the first 15 days of this semester.

It’s easy to downplay the prevalence and danger of crime, partly because it seems this spike in activity has become an annual fall trend. As alluded to in an

Aug. 28 editorial about staying safe on campus, anyone who was here last fall likely remembers the multitude and frequency of incidents that occurred.

The police have called these incidents “crimes of opportunity,” and said students often hold the key to preventing them from happening. This might be true, but this isn’t just the problem of naive, ignorant students.

Students, citizens and authorities alike must acknowledge that there is a growing problem in the number and frequency of violent crimes occurring in NIU’s own backyard. We must then figure out how to make it stop.

Six violent crimes in roughly 15 days averages to one of these incidents occurring nearly every three days. It’s only Sept. 10. Imagine how much worse it will get if the rate at which these crimes occur is not cut back.

Crimes happen, yes, but there is no choice but for NIU and its community to address this growing trend and put a stop to it. Our safety and rights are on the line.