Campus and neighborhood need better alert systems


After a domestic altercation turned shooting on the evening of Monday, Feb. 25, SF State students remain shaken. The trauma and concern of this event is apparent throughout the student body, many concerned with the University’s lack of an efficient alert system on the night of the shooting.

While students found out about the incident through apps like Wildfire and Citizen, the campus and neighborhood alert systems must improve.

The shooting occurred just a block from the J. Paul Leonard Library at Serrano Drive on Park Merced property. Alerts were sent out via email to students at 10:12 p.m., nearly three hours after the reported incident. Many students are equally frustrated with SF State and Parkmerced alert systems. Parkmerced sent an email alert to its residents at 12:58 p.m. the day following the shooting. Neither of these email alerts addressed the status of the whereabouts of the shooter.

The Parkmerced email read:

“The police have released limited information at this time.  […] The two individuals involved were likely university students and the suspect was known to the victim. Thankfully, the injured individual is expected to make a complete recovery. We will continue to cooperate with the police.”

Parkmerced is popularly known for its convenient off-campus location largely occupied by SF State students, although many families and elders also reside in its perceived tranquil atmosphere on the outskirts of San Francisco. Parkmerced is constantly immersed with dog-walkers and ongoing commuters regardless of the time of day.

As Parkmerced residents ourselves, we have begun to question both the University and the neighborhood’s reliability in properly notifying us of any urgent issues that may put us in danger.

This is not the first time incidents near students have not been on the radar of the University or the neighborhood. In October of last year, the body of a 64-year-old woman was found dead in Lake Merced, a lake less than a mile away from campus and our Parkmerced home. University Police Department reportedly was unaware of the death.

The history of neighborhood officials’ continued failure at informing its residents of possible endangerments in a timely manner is extensive, as displayed by the many crimes in the last year. According to Trulia’s crime data in Parkmerced, in the past year, there have been 128 counts of theft, 65 counts of assault, 35 counts of burglary, 32 counts of vandalism and 10 counts of arrest, yet as Parkmerced residents, we have only received two emails concerning issues in the neighborhood in the past year.

Comparably, the Citizen app has released 7 alerts of incidents from burglaries to attempted carjackings in the past two weeks. Most Citizen alerts feature timely updates and video documentation of incidents as well as push notifications to occurrences at close proximity to the user.

For the sake of the safety of students, faculty, and the over 12,000 residents of Parkmerced, both the neighborhood and university need to let all surrounding members of the community know about newsworthy and dangerous events.

It is a problem that apps, such as Citizen and Wildfire have become more reliable in alerting potential danger in the area than the University and Park Merced, and it is equally a problem that, to this day, many students and residents are unaware of the danger that arose Monday night.