How safe is Stanford really?

On the first night of rush, we received warnings of two sexual batteries that had occurred on campus. “Walk home in groups!” warned the coordinators as we left, looking worried. “And hurry home. Be safe!” It wasn’t very late — only a little after midnight. I had walked home from the library by myself many times at this time of night. Still, it was a relief when I found another girl to walk back with.


This scenario made me think — are we lulled into a false sense of security on Stanford’s beautiful campus? Surrounded by affluent Palo Alto and nestled in our own private zip code, Stanford feels protected from the violence and danger of the rest of the world.

Does that seem naïve? Most of the student body seems to agree on Stanford’s safety. When I asked 20 freshmen, every single one agreed that Stanford’s campus was safe. 

And it’s true; compared to a lot of other college campus, Stanford’s campus does seem exceptionally safe. I remember a friend, a freshman at Yale, telling me about how one of her dances was moved because there was a shooting two blocks away from where it was held. I was shocked, but she shrugged and said that violence often occurs in New Haven.

But there are dangers present on Stanford’s campus, and although all of those students concluded that Stanford’s campus was generally safe, about half of them had experienced moments when they felt unsafe. Generally, students felt the most unsafe at night, in dark lighting and when we all receive safety alerts.

In the…

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