On May 15, 2011, a chill was sent down the spine of everyone who lives in Isla Vista or on campus. The sanctity and safety of the community that we hold so dear was severely threatened. Isla Vista has been and always will be a place of elation for many of its residents. However, in the wake of recent events, we are left in the aftermath of a murder on our own territory and the inescapable feeling that we are no longer safe in our beloved town.

These fears are justified and valid. It is easy to understand one’s anxiety given what has happened in such close proximity. Such an incident calls for swift and responsible action. Having been given the privilege to serve you all these next 12 months, I am compelled to tell you just how seriously I take this incident. This staggering event was a wake-up call to all of us, but I assure you that I, along with my fellow executives, am now wide awake as a result.

Despite the many things that make Isla Vista a remarkable place to spend four years of your life, it has many elements that compromise our safety as citizens. Isla Vista has one of the worst property theft rates in the country. It has a safety index of zero, making it safer than zero percent of the cities in the United States. Numbers like these can easily deteriorate any optimism for Isla Vista citizens. However, having worked on public safety in I.V. for the past two years, I’m here to tell you that we can make a difference and we can change the climate that has long haunted our town. With the collective effort of thousands of committed students, we can make an even better Isla Vista.

Recognize that most burglaries in Isla Vista occur from people forgetting to lock their doors. Recognize that recent campaigns to promote household security have decreased burglaries in I.V. by 50 percent. Recognize that Lt. Vuillemainroy of the I.V. Foot Patrol is looking to steer the office in a new direction that embodies progressive leadership that is open to student input. Recognize that CSOs, despite their bad reputation, really are here to provide safety and will escort students anywhere in I.V. or on campus. Recognize that the issues of safety that have tormented I.V. for too long will be dealt with and handled accordingly.

Join me in making Isla Vista a better place and send your tweets to @ImproveIV. Together we can regain our community and remember why we came here in the first place.