It was Cinco de Mayo and after some day debauchery my accomplices and I headed to a friend’s house- except no one was home. Having had some drinks, we came up with a master plan: to break into her apartment. Obviously pure genius, we propped open the window screen and made an anything but elegant entrance. No harm done, right?
Isla Vista has been ridden with crime recently, from robbery to sexual assault- and even a curious attempted bomb. In a small bubble, unlike any other college neighborhood known to man, IV poses a paradox of freedom and partying- with an undertone of villainous and heinous crimes. So tell me, why would college kids steal from college kids?
It’s no surprise that when college kids are wasted, there is a tendency to engage in foolish, stupid and sometimes dangerous behavior. It never gets old when you pass some chick walking back from FT speaking into her cell phone “I just woke up in a UCSB dorm,” with a look of bewilderment on her face. That’s college.
However, there is a dark side to Isla Vista that is widely ignored, and often excused as part of the “college experience” at University of California Santa Barbara. The robberies, fights, and assaults continue to happen. A majority of inhabitants in IV go to UCSB, SBCC or are still young enough to not be called creepers at parties (your time will come). As for the actual adults (because we’re just college kids, right?), they’re smart enough to live in the outskirts of IV where they can shelter their children from the oh-so horrific atrocities of college life that disgrace the human nature. Are they right?
Yeah, we rage and make sure we wake up the next morning to have loads to talk about at brunch- but no one mentions the things that go wrong. The fact that people get their phones, cameras and other valuables stolen from their very homes is quite discomforting. Sure, there are out-of-towners who think they can just shit all over what we call home, but I highly doubt that all crime is caused by people who don’t live here.
So I ask again, why would college kids steal from college kids? Aside from the night life, students are here for very genuine, valid and quite frankly important reasons. We learn about the world, and all the good and bad that exists within it. We learn about ourselves- and that within a split second, our feelings can change. Our experiences teach us how to function as independent adults- and that maybe passing out in your bed with a Freeb!rds burrito in not such a good idea when you wake up the next morning. We come here to meet other people, escape from the world we came from and find people who are just as weird or awkward as us. We come here to live.
In an environment that is so freeing and vindicating for everyone who smells the ocean breeze or feels the late night beats of an ocean-side party pulsing through their chest, people feel powerful. They can do anything- drunk or sober. And sadly, there are people who take advantage of that. We all feel unified in this run-down slum, and we forget the other side of human nature.
As much as you’d like to deny or call me a pessimist, there is an innate greedy nature in each and every one of us. And the good-hearted–or straight-up stupid people who forget to lock their doors or windows, fall victim to the people who know this truth. It’s an insidious, vicious form the human mind is very capable of, and they will take advantage of those who have not a clue.
Let me give you some disclaimers so you don’t all come after me with pitchforks calling me the spawn of Satan. I’m not calling people stupid, or saying that robberies are the only crime that occur- or that they happen just because people don’t lock their doors. What I am saying is that while here at UCSB we can be free, happy people, but we cannot be naive.