Jorge Espinoza-Gonzales ’26
On Sept. 29, 2023, Dean of Community Life and Standards and Interim Director of Campus Safety Robert Luskaskiewiz shared the “Trinity College Annual Security Report.” The report begins with a restatement of policies, all of which are on the school’s student handbook. Generally speaking, the policies are your traditional run-of-the-mill. It is lengthy, but rather thorough—especially in its adherence to federal and state statutes relating to sexual offenses. It specifies that the statistics shared in the report were shared with the Campus Safety Department between 2020 and 2022. Trinity College also stressed its comprehensive security system that is anchored by the collaboration of campus police and municipal law enforcement. Within the walls, campus police officers are the first line of defense, managing daily situations and assuring immediate safety. However, when dealing with more serious or off-campus crimes, their cooperation with local police becomes essential. Most interesting is their statistic of the types of crime committed on different forms of property: campus, housing, non-campus and public property.
Just some clear statistics and trends: overall, it seems that arrests have decreased and a similar trend appearing regarding disciplinary actions. According to the graph, no arrests for alcohol, drugs, or weapon possession have been issued on-campus or in student housing since 2020. Most disciplinary actions were taken due to possession of alcohol and though less commonly, drugs. 2022 is the only year out of the three in which disciplinary action was not taken for weapon possession. To the untrained eye, this report seems to be a clear win for the college. After all, one could claim that overall crime has decreased since although arrests have remained consistently low or nonexistent, disciplinary actions have dramatically decreased. But those are just for three types of crimes. Not included in this statistic are the arrests and/ or disciplinary actions for crimes such as aggravated assault (which, for some peculiar reason, was very common in 2020) and rape. How did the school/ local police deal with these crimes? Yet, one should remember that all of the data from this statistic comes from willing reporters. Just because a crime happens does not mean it will get reported—especially drug and alcohol-related crimes. I mean, when was the last time you asked someone’s age before handing them a drink? Plus, one should think about the intensity of the situation. Most are hesitant to call for help, even if we are given immunity unless the situation is rather dire. So how reliable can this statistic, in at least measuring crime at Trinity, really be?
Crime is rampant, even if we do not acknowledge it. Think about it this way: Trinity has a tremendous reputation for partying, of course. Its students know how to have a good time, that’s for sure, and we have normalized the party scene. The problem is not with college kids having a good time, it’s that most of the time we fail to remember that crime is occurring amidst our laughter and dancing. Have you ever been carded, bouncer-style, in front of a frat? Of course not! Wouldn’t it be silly to do so? And wouldn’t it be silly to assume that everyone in there is over 21? Possession of alcohol and distribution to minors should skyrocket high in the statistics, after all, the law is being broken. Campus safety is just down the block, if not, outside. Trust me, when they see you stumbling out of Pike with messy eyeliner and a popped collar, they know you’ve had a taste of Hennessy. Yet, they never seem to even stop you. So one must consider at what point should they get involved. At what point does Hartford police get involved?
In September 2023, it seemed that every freshman on YikYak was complaining about Trinity’s urban surroundings. Somehow, people forgot that they were not at Colgate and were in fact, in a city. Sure, an urban environment has tremendous opportunities, but it can also come with negatives, negatives that are often overlooked. It’s just a trade-off. Higher criminal activities just happen to be a negative. In such a case, we should be on the lookout—we cannot rely solely on campus safety. For all that they may try, they won’t always be there. It will be up to us.
Campus security is a complex subject that needs constant attention. The dedication to safety includes not only lowering crime but also fostering an atmosphere that is favorable to learning and individual development. We will get closer to our common goal of a safer, more secure campus where all students may succeed without unwarranted anxieties when we realize that we still need to be proactive. Not alarmed, yet alert.