Vandalism sucks. And no one is reporting it. Between the years of 1996 and 2000, the number of reported on-campus vandalism incidents ranged between 61 and 76 per year. Now I can honestly say that nearly that many incidents occurred in my hall – and the figure is supposed to represent the number of incidents reported on the entire campus in a given year.
And what about Isla Vista, where the other 54 percent of students live? Statistics are harder to come by for vandalism, but if you want an estimate, you can look at the UCSB campus safety report where only four burglary incidents were reported on-campus and 126 were reported to the I.V. Foot Patrol.
Even without statistics, it’s obvious there’s more crime in Isla Vista than on-campus, and it’s doubtful that it’s being reported well in either place.
I can tell you one thing. When my windshield was smashed in a week ago, I sure as hell reported it. My housemate is sure going to report the fact that his car was dented and keyed last weekend.
There are solutions to my problem. I could move to Denmark, for instance, where auto vandalism falls below 5 percent – or to Japan for that matter. But according to the 2000 International Crime and Victimization Survey, bicycle theft is higher in those countries. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, I suppose.
What torques me off is not so much the fact that my windshield was smashed. I suppose everyone who lives in I.V. has played football in the street at one point or another. No, what makes me mad is the fact that no one bothered to leave a note that said something like, “Dude, I had this nasty trip last night and I thought your car was the dragon from that Sean Connery movie. I apologize for smashing your windshield, but I had to defend my girlfriend. Here’s my number and I’ll pay for the damages…”
That would have been nice.
Then my housemate’s car got dented and scratched up. From the looks of it, someone careened into it on their bike in the midst of a drunken odyssey, knocking the side in and allowing their handlebars to slide along the body of the car. But again, there was no note saying, “I was so out of it last night and I must say your car looked very attractive. I was in the midst of a torrid sexual encounter with the auto in question when I happened to notice the Toyota insignia on the hood. Here’s my address and I’ll pay for the damages…”
Now this still sucks. Sexual assault is never okay – even against an automobile. But at least we could have hopped in the car and run the bastard down if we had his address. No, there was no note. So here’s a note for the jerks out there:
Take some responsibility for your actions. We’ve all seen you puke on people’s lawns, throw punches on their driveways and vandalize their property. And none of it holds a candle to what you do when no one is looking. Did you honestly come to college to act like 12-year-olds? If someone that age did this kind of crap, at least they’d end up in juvie. You want to live in a world without consequences, but that’s not the way the world works. Life has a way of correcting character flaws. Sometime, somewhere, this will catch up to you – and when it does, you’ll wish you’d left a note.
Josh Braun is the Daily Nexus science and technology editor. Someone somewhere owes him $250.