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Opinion: No one is safe on- or off-campus around Ohio State

I am just your average student. I live off campus in an apartment. I often spend weeknights at the library and weekend nights out around Columbus. And when I finish my homework or leave the party I’m at, I walk home. 

Recently I took my usual walk down Pearl Street back to my apartment at about 7 p.m.

As I reached the intersection of 17th Avenue and Pearl Street, a cop pulled up next to me and asked me to please be careful walking alone.

I was thankful he stopped. I felt protected knowing that a higher authority, this police officer, was looking out for me. 

However, when I really began to think about the situation, it seemed absurd. It was unfortunate that it was necessary for a police officer to pull me over to make me feel safe in a place I call home.

But at what point do we, as students, get to feel safe around this campus? When it’s dark out, I personally walk on High Street, yet I feel weary of the people that line the street, often calling things out at me as I hastily walk back to my apartment.

On Pearl Street, even during broad daylight, it’s not uncommon to run into someone who makes me feel the need to check my peripherals and observe the shadows around me.

On top of these circumstances, I’m often alone, like many students that walk to and from campus to their off-campus housing. It is not practical to have someone walk with you everywhere. We are all individuals with our own schedules and it is inevitable that we will have to travel places alone.

With the recent chain of events this academic year on and around campus, from armed robberies to sexual assaults, it is clear that no one is safe, as unsettling as that might be to admit.

The unfortunate reality is that there are people out there who are going to set out to steal from you, harm you or sexually assault you. It is terrifying and inhumane, but it isn’t avoidable.

It is important to always be aware of your surroundings. If you ever feel even the slightest bad feeling about walking alone, don’t. There are plenty of other options to ensure safety. Call a friend or an Uber to drive you, or stay the night where you are and walk home in the morning.

We cannot be mindless when walking the streets of Columbus like I was. Yes, it seemed crazy at the time that I was deemed unsafe by a police officer, but by no means are we safe from these criminals.


  1. Walking down Pearl at night is your problem right there.

  2. This is the single biggest problem for OSU.

    The band fiasco, over-paid, incompetent leadership, etc. are disgraceful and damaging, but nothing compares to the problem presented by female students not feeling safe on or near campus.

    The worst areas of Wash DC and NYC don’t feel as dangerous as the area this young woman is describing. That’s probably because you get the impression the shady characters are lurking in the area specifically because there are students around.

    Something (I once wrote to the interim president with ideas, but got a form letter back) has to be done — but don’t hold your breath.

  3. That is the most important thing. BE AWARE. I see so many students walking around campus with headsets and not paying attention to their surroundings. Take the headphones off. Be aware. You can’t hear someone sneaking up behind you if your ears are blocked by headphones or ear buds. Please students, DON’T DO THAT.

  4. In states where concealed carry of firearms is legalized, violent crime drops 17% after legalization. This is when just 1% of the population are licensed carriers. The reason the criminal element is attracted to off-campus housing is because they know that a young person in that neighborhood is *not* carrying a firearm because we can’t. I hold a valid Ohio License to Carry a Concealed Handgun. That means that I have demonstrated to the State that I understand the law regarding deadly force and that I know how to use a firearm. Not everyone is responsible enough to carry, and many choose not to. That is okay. But to deny those of us who are responsible enough and have the appropriate licensure the ability to defend ourselves harms us and those around us.

  5. A police substation around 12th or 15th and High would help. Also upgraded lights in the area would be nice too.

  6. I dont have a ccl but I carry a 9mm on my belt…its fully visible…keeps the pieces of filth away from me

  7. How about we start speaking up against how the police (the people we pay to “protect” us) spend an unacceptable amount of their time busting students for underage drinking, fining jaywalkers, and ticketing/towing our cars?

    Sure, we live in an unsafe world. That’s not easy to change. But we need to make it our duty to protect ourselves the best we can. Meaning, we first need to take appropriate action to keep ourselves away from danger, and then make sure the people we pay to protect us are really doing their best to do so.

  8. What the university never says is that the university is right next to the hood of Columbus and numerous gangs are just a hop, skip, and a throw away from campus.

  9. Hide yo kids, hide yo wife

  10. @Tommy, something tells me you’ve never lived in the worst areas in DC and NYC and I promise I felt safer having my child at Osu then here……hahahahaha!! I was told of constant break ins but most were due to naive students (throwing too many house parties etc.)!!! I used to tell my child not to use apartment as hang out for strangers! Biggest problem were DRUNK Osu female students acting like Hannah Grahmn…..

  11. I love the way you bring this issue to a personal level. My girlfriend had a similar experience. It all seems more real when a cop talks to you or someone close to you.

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