Monday, November 5, 2007

Crime in a rural university town

The New York Times recently reported the death of Donald Farrell, a 19-yr old university student at Rowan University in rural New Jersey. The article detailing Mr. Farrell's fatal beating, allegedly tied to a robbery, describes the former security most students felt attending a university in a rural, "tranquil" town of 19,000, highlighting how the beating and death has brought a new sense of unease to the community. The details of Mr. Farrell's death are truly shocking as he seemed to be taking precautions against crime: traveling at 9pm in a group, along busy roads in a well lit area to get to a local convenience store. The reactions noted throughout the article note a theme we've spent a lot of time discussing: the perceived security and safety of rural America. It is unfortunate that such phenomenons are often noted only in the face of tragedy. I also can't help but wonder whether if this tragedy fell upon, say, a student at urban Columbia University, it would have received similar media attention.

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