On Thursday, December 2, a Ross University student had her phone stolen by someone who had been watching her and her husband in their Bird Rock home for some time. The person called the husband and threatened to cut the student’s throat unless he delivered $500 USD. The perpetrator was able to convince the husband that his wife had actually been kidnapped by providing knowledge about their home, their dogs, and the couple themselves, all gained from spying on them. Luckily the student was actually safe on Ross’s campus. Here’s the entry from Ross’s Incident Report System:
Bird Rock 10:10 AM: Student reported that she received a call from the husband of her friend, another student, advising that someone had kidnapped the student and was demanding US$500.00 be placed in a garbage can outside the house. The Director of Safety & Security was advised about the incident, having spoken to the student and the husband. The student was eventually found on campus and was advised of the matter that was been looked into. The husband and the police arrived on campus for further investigations.
Since Ross’s reports are password protected, Eye on St. Kitts will now publish ever single one as they appear. There’s a serious problem at hand with security at Ross University. The school asks students to move to St. Kitts in order to attend vet school, but doesn’t take proper care to ensure the safety of students and significant others. The security director claims that Ross vehicles patrol neighborhoods on a regular basis, but clearly this isn’t a sufficient measure.
Two things need to change immediately. First, all crime reports involving Ross students, significant others and pets need to be made available through a public press release. It does not make any sense to keep the incident reports in a private system. Safety will depend on the perception of security measures just as much as on the measures themselves. If the public sees that the university is taking action to prevent such incidents from happening, it will contribution to the betterment of the situation. An adequate perception of security is not provided by unarmed Ross vehicles with no police authority that drive around residential areas on an occasional basis.
Therefore, the second required action is that Ross University needs to hire an armed security force. Like it or not, St. Kitts is not a sufficiently safe environment for its students, partly because students are actively targeted by locals who are living in a state of poverty. (Update 12/6/10: The preceding statement was made in regard to crime, not the economic status of Kittitian locals. Poverty is the cause of most crime, no matter where in the world it happens.) Students are perceived to be wealthy—at least, wealthy enough to rob, or even threaten with death. Yet the police charge money to file a report, and the chances that they will find the perpetrator in a threat like this are extremely low.
If this trend continues, Ross University will not be able to stay in business unless they provide housing for all 700 students on the gated campus. Since that’s not likely to happen at a time when no students live on campus, they will have to hire armed security officers to be on constant patrol in all areas where students live.
We’ll be contacting the student who was targeted in this incident. Please share your thoughts on the issue.