LOS ANGELES, CA – Recently, crime rates have increased substantially in the Westwood neighborhood, where most UCLA students live in off-campus or university apartments. On Saturday morning around 1 am, some UCLA students were approached by two armed men and robbed of their wallets and phones. The men carried a knife and a handgun with them. I don’t know about you but sometimes my roommate and I make grocery runs to Ralph’s at 1 am, assuming that Westwood is a relatively safe neighborhood. But it doesn’t seem like that is the situation anymore.

Although I do understand the need to carry pepper spray and other means of protecting oneself, I don’t think this defense mechanism is something that people necessarily carry every day. And definitely not for small outings such as grocery runs or coming back to one’s apartment from the campus library. However, theft is not the only crime that occurs in the UCLA area.

Another more serious one took place last week on July 13. An anonymous phone call alerted the University of California Police Department, or UCPD, of a bomb threat at the Sunset Recreation Center, which is situated close to the UCLA dorms. All students were evacuated for three long hours, in light of the threat. Once UCPD gave the all-clear sign, the students went back to their dorms.

With such life-threatening events happening every week or two at the UCLA campus, students don’t feel safe anymore. Furthermore, Westwood is considered UCLA’s unofficial college town and with these recent crimes, its reputation is just not the same anymore.

However, as the times change, we must change too. My advice would be to carry pepper spray and be alert at all times. Crime isn’t something that should be taken lightly and I will definitely take my own advice to heart as well.

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