Saturday, January 1, 2011

Living in Scary Places.

I attended law school at Rutgers University School of Law in Camden, New Jersey. It was a really great school in a really not great area. In fact, it was the Murder Capital of the Country while I lived there. Once upon a time, Camden was a ritzy suburb of Philadephia. It is literally walking distance from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A quick jog across the Ben Franklin Bridge and you're right there. The subway ride was only a couple of minutes. But, the depression hit and decimated Camden. Sad, really. It turned into one huge ghetto. With a law school.

At our orientation they had a police officer come and speak to the new students. The school wanted to make sure that we *really* understood what a dangerous place we were living. They went to great lengths to secure the campus and related facilities, but they could not be everywhere at once, so we were schooled in law AND safety. Always travel in pairs, but preferably packs. Always carry mace and a whistle. Learn self defense and don't be afraid to run if you get spooked. The one that sticks out in my mind most, though, is the officer telling us that if we are sitting at a red light and there is no one at the cross streets, just treat it like a stop sign and go. You know it's bad when the police force is telling you to disregard traffic signals.

I lived with three other women in on-campus apartment housing. It was a short walk to the main part of campus and we were very diligent about heeding the warnings. The apartment building was co-ed, and the guys we lived near were very chivalrous, so we never worried about having to walk alone. We even did a self defense video at one point, but who am I kidding. Running like hell is much more my style.

There was one murder on campus in the time I lived there. It was an undergraduate student who (allegedly) was wrapped up with some of the local drug dealers. Still incredibly sad. I haven't been back since finishing school, but I am hopeful that the community has, or will be, improved back to it's original glory.
***The story is my own, but please note, this was a compensated post.

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