Mairead Leen writes about a recent act of vandalism on campus, and asks if it’s time we started to take things seriously.
Anti-social behaviour is certainly not a new phenomenon on campus. However, for some reason this year, it does seem to be exploding in an unprecedented fashion. For me, it all happened during freshers week.
I left my bike overnight on campus, something which I usually did on a regular occurrence. I can promise you that I won’t be doing so again in a hurry because the sight that met my eyes the next morning would cause trust issues for anyone. My beloved lights had been callously ripped off, the brakes had been cut in a menacing fashion, the mudguards had been torn off and thrown on the ground and the wheels must have been kicked in with a spanner.
I think I would have felt a bit better if they had even taken the mudguards with them, but it was the needlessness of it all. It seemed that the thoughtless thugs had grown frustrated when they couldn’t break my lock (my mammy proudly informed me that it has an uncuttable wire). However, the joke was on me as in their rage at being unable to rob my pink bike (adorned with a nice basket) they thought it would be a good idea to, excuse the French, kick the s**t out of it.
Now, I was having a bad day. The list is long, I had been out the night before, was pretty tired and in a generally grumpy mood. When I saw my bike, I turned around and went home. I just couldn’t bring myself to deal with it just right then. So I left and convinced myself that the damage wasn’t that bad.
Oh was I wrong. My bike no longer wheeled. I asked for CCTV footage (because I was going to chase those hooligans to hell and back) only to be informed that where my bike had been parked along the rack was just where the cameras cut off (nice). I still look at that grey area bitterly. The next day I dragged that unforgivably heavy bike (workout done for the day) all the way home. At which point a neighbour pointed out I had just walked past the bike shop, so I dragged the bike all the way back. The damage was €60. I had got it for my birthday, I reminisced to the bike man.
That was when I started to imagine the robber (though I think it was plural. That much damage can’t have been done alone). Did they laugh as they broke the wheels? Yes I’m being dramatic but I still get angry even at the thought of it. There seems to be an unstoppable crime spree around campus. In first year, I was egged several times, which I laughed off. But it seems to be progressing to dangerous levels, from egging to robbing. The viral video on Magazine Road shows this too. When does it all stop being a laugh? Where do we draw the line to ‘fun and games’? I saw another video of people dancing on someone’s car; jumping up and down as if it was a trampoline. Sure it was only having the craic. Weren’t they drunk?
But…what if that was your car? And you woke up in the morning to realise that there were dents in your car roof? The email at the beginning of fresher’s week reinforced this; the one where we were all told to calm down etc. If that was freshers, what will rag be like? It seems that residents are being terrorised and we’re doing little to help. It is only a small minority but that minority are ruining it for the rest of us; last week, we were the best university of the year. But unfortunately, last weeks news is this weeks trash. Because this week, we are trending for a drunken video that is not showing us in the best light at all.
Let’s make an effort to stamp out this needless vandalism.