ON THE killing of UST Nursing sophomore Jef Marty Longyapon along A.H. Lacson last Oct. 14, should the blame be placed only on hoodlums creeping along dark corners waiting to pounce on their next victims or also at least partly the city’s police officers and barangay officials?

Whether it is because of sheer incompetence, negligence, or lack of manpower of those who are supposed to keep our streets safe, the prevalence of street crimes is fast becoming an alarming situation not only for the police but especially for students, school administrators, and families all over the Metropolis as well.

Students usually complain of the lack of visibility of police officers. True enough, police battalions often only appear during street rallies around the immediate vicinities of the University. But most of the time, police officers patrolling the streets are a rare sight.

Meanwhile, it is also the responsibility of the barangay tanods to keep peace and order in their respective jurisdictions.

Worse, students are even taught to just give in to their assailants’ demands when attacked—an obvious lack in the belief in justice and the local government’s police power to keep such situations in check. Such distrust grows into tolerance of such crimes and, ultimately, tolerance of bad governance.

Is now the right time for UST’s own security forces to step in (or out of the University’s four walls) to protect its students?

Arguably, the jurisdiction of UST’s security personnel is within the 21-hectare lot. And while they are there to protect life and limb of those living, studying or working on campus, still, without the help of the proper authorities, UST security will be helpless since they are armed with nothing more than tear gas canisters and a club. A joint effort with a more enhanced intelligence and surveillance web should be employed by guardians of peace and order.

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Further, the local government should also light the way, literally, with functioning street lights along areas where students traverse. Lighting devices near schools, playgrounds, and other places frequented by civilians ought to be repaired; and if already repaired, enforced. Otherwise, criminals will continue to hide in the shadows, waiting to strike anew.

Lest another student gets shot or mauled or raped, more effort should be given—by police officers, the local government, and even civilians—to stop or, more importantly, prevent crime.

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