With the recent prevalence of attacks both on and off campus, students are becoming increasingly worried about their security. The new Riverview Apartment Complex in the 19th Ward also merits further student concern. Although UR Security has laid out a plan to protect residents in this highly trafficked area, there is the persisting question of whether they are prepared to face the challenges of this new environment.

Given the realistic limit of funds and resources, their strategy, which calls for 12 blue light phones, 29 cameras and two officers, is a good start. The marginal benefit of more cameras or blue lights than the number presented is minimal, and though a larger security presence might look good on paper, the area is small and two officers should suffice. Also, Security will make sure to assign experienced officers to the Riverview posts, which are inherently more dangerous than normal security activities.

However, even experienced security officers cannot provide the best security for students or for themselves without proper training. For the past year, security officers have been advocating for Peace Officer status, and a Task Force comprised of senior University leaders is looking into the possibility. As of now, officers have the ability to locate and detain a suspect, but they are limited in their power to act. For instance, they cannot make arrests or investigate crimes and they cannot carry a firearm.

To best protect students in the 19th Ward, the Task Force should recommend that some officers be allowed to gain Peace Officer status. This would enable officers to receive the training they need to be effective peacekeepers in the neighborhood, as well as provide them with firearms. This is not unprecedented; other New York State private schools, such as Ithaca College and Syracuse University, have attained legislation to give sworn-officer status to some security officers.

While it is arguable how necessary such measures would be for the protection of River Campus, it is clear that the 19th Ward produces more palpable dangers and the need for action and appropriate weapons. As an imposing force being introduced to the neighborhood, the officers themselves have reason to be concerned for their safety. Unless security officers on the other side of the river are given the necessary training and firearms, they will be in over their heads.

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