USC firsthand

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Discus: College Search and Selection: August 2004 Archive: USC firsthand
By Playtothebeat (Playtothebeat) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 05:12 pm: Edit

i just got to USC about 3 days ago, and so far all i can say is WOW. everyone here is extremely friendly, even the upper classmen. they have no problems telling freshmen about their experience, what to do and what not to do.
the frat parties are great. im sure they will get old soon, but for now, it's awesome. it's definately a great experience.
i can't wait for the football games!!

let me know if there are some questions any of you might have.

Campus Tours Online -

By Brandnew (Brandnew) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 05:20 pm: Edit

What's the surrounding area really like? I've heard so many conflicting stories that I really don't know what to believe anymore.

By Jerome12345 (Jerome12345) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 06:24 pm: Edit

not really that bad
just trashy looking neighborhoods
not a war zone

By Shyboy13 (Shyboy13) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 06:46 pm: Edit

Yeah not that bad BUT, just go a few minutes south of campus (not toward downtown). Almost no students go that direction cuz it IS a war zone in South Central LA. I was born and raised in LA so I know the area pretty good. The campus and its immediate suroundings arent bad though. I must say that I HAVE seen gang violence, an armed robbery at the Togos on Vermont, fighting, and drugs in my two years as a grad student at USC. Students have gotten robbed and even stabbed in the immediate area. Still, it is not as bad as people say.

By Liek0806 (Liek0806) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 07:52 pm: Edit

that's funny how you give the visual, "students have gotten robbed and even stabbed" and then you say "not as bad as people say"
i personally have never seen any of this and i've lived by usc all my life.

By Playtothebeat (Playtothebeat) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 07:57 pm: Edit

i haven't visited THAT much of the area yet, but i have walked around the campus quite a bit, even at 3am. haven't noticed any problems. i wasn't walking alone, maybe that's why. but it seems fine as long as you use common sense

By Shyboy13 (Shyboy13) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 08:18 pm: Edit

Liek0806, if you have lived there most of your life I find it hard to believe you havenít seen things like that before. You must have heard of Dead End Harpies and P-Stone Villains! Do they not involve themselves in this type of activities? All gang-infested areas have their share of violence and crime. This is not just limited to Central Los Angeles where USC is located. That said, I never said I have seen students robbed or stabbed. When a student goes to USC, they get email about every two weeks or so (I think they are called crime alerts) that reports on some of the incidents that occurred on or around campus. I HAVE received emails about students getting robbed and stabbed. So this means that it has happened.

Remember, I said that the neighborhood is not as bad as they say. People are people. Just because people are poor does not make them animals. The majority of people living in ghettos are not bad people. USC area residents are no exception. In fact, the immediate surrounding area, about one mile radius, is not bad at all. Think about it though Liek0806, of course you will not think USC is bad. Its your home.

By Uschicka (Uschicka) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 01:04 pm: Edit

I'm so glad you like it here playtothebeat! I must say that I'm in my second year and I haven't gotten tired of the frat parties yet. :) Live it up these first few days/nights- they were my favorite memories of last year.

By Liek0806 (Liek0806) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 02:01 pm: Edit

To tell you the truth, no b/s, I haven't seen anyone get stabbed or robbed from first hand, and I've lived like right in front of where gangs hang out, as long as you mind your business like i have always done, you don't notice thing, the only thing you have to fear is fear itself, if you take a look at my profile you'll see that i don't look like the typical person that lives in the usc area, i am a minority but most people think i'm caucasian, according to what most people think, i think i have a greater chance of getting "robbed or stabbed" but never have I ever been threatened. But once again I've lived there all my life so I'm bias towards it not being a bad area. I know what a bad area is, and a bad area is way down south of usc. The people around USC take pride in having USC there, I know at least I do and so do many others.

just that people who aren't able to adapt to their surroundings, or aren't accustomed to living a life lower than theirs see it as a bad area. As long as your an open person, and broad minded, and not critizing everything around you, and looking at the negative things , the USC area is very much liveable and adaptable and not bad.

By Tsdad (Tsdad) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 09:31 am: Edit

As to safety at USC. I wrote this last year, and I stand by it. It can be found at:

"Which leads us to the safety issue. It is a canard against the University and the residents in the nearby neighborhood that USC is in a dangerous section of LA. It is not. It is located in working class community right on major surface commuter roads, near downtown LA and several freeways. The University and students are involved in the community although there are natural tensions as USC expands, which it is doing, beyond its traditional boundaries. Students need to use common sense, be aware of their surroundings, and realize they are not invulnerable. Granted these are hard things for young people to do, but if they can, they will do very nicely. They will get a lecture on campus safety from the university police on move-in day or soon after. Take a look at the USC Department of Public Safetyís STREET SMART: A PRIMER. The Text for Urban Living 100, which requires Adobe Acrobat, at:"

I reiterate: use commonsense. Don't seek out drug dealers while you are drunk, in an alley in downtown LA, by yourself, at 2 or 3 in the morning as one USC student did last year. He was murdered.

Keep in mind that if USC concerns you I also suggest that you don't apply to Harvard, Yale, Chicago, Hopkins, Temple, Penn, Columbia, or NYU. Black and Hispanic people live nearby just like they do at USC. The horror.

By Shyboy13 (Shyboy13) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 01:02 pm: Edit

I said USC wasnt that bad. I hope noone misunderstood me.

By Overseas (Overseas) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 01:35 pm: Edit

As an alumnus of USC who has not stepped forth onto the campus since 1970, I was pleased to explore the school in early August. It is an amazing place. Everywhere my son and I went, we encountered nothing but friendly attention when asking for directions or help from the ladies in the student union cafeteria, to students, to shopkeepers at a nearby shopping center, to admission personnel. The campus is as compact and user friendly as I remember as a student there; the surrounding neighborhood has changed so much. The most significant change in my mind is the outreach by the university into the local community which impressed me more than any new building.

By Shyboy13 (Shyboy13) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 12:37 pm: Edit

This is an email I just got today. I get these pretty often.

The USC Department of Public Safety wants you to know about crimes
occurring in our community. Informed citizens are better able to ensure
their safety as they go about their daily activities. The following
information is provided with your safety in mind.


August 20, 2004

At approximately 06:45 AM, Friday August 20, 2004 a female student was
assaulted in the north parking lot of Cardinal Gardens. The student was
walking in the parking lot when grabbed from behind by her assailant and
touched inappropriately. The student struggled with the suspect who then
fled the parking lot.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, late 30's to early 40's,
approximately 5'2" to 5'5" tall, medium build, clean shaven and curly
black hair. He was last seen wearing a tan and plaid jacket and dark
jeans. The suspect was driving an older model, mid sized, white 4-door
sedan, possibly a Buick or General Motors make.

If you have any information regarding this incident please contact the
Department of Public Safety immediately at 213-740-4321 or LAPD
Southwest Bureau 213-847-5945.

By Highered (Highered) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 06:18 pm: Edit

My son just started at USC as a freshman last week. He has been very impressed with the support and encouragement he has received from students, faculty and others in his first week.
At the university orientation, which was held over the summer, there was a special session for students and parents, which focused on safety
and resources available to students. Trams and
other transportation are available at virtually any hour for students. The area surrounding the university is really not bad, certainly not the
war zone that has become almost urban legend for
those who are not familiar with the university.
There are areas a few miles from campus where a student (or anyone else for that matter) would be advised not to venture at night but that holds true for every city in this country. My wife and I have absolutely no qualms about our son's safety at USC.

By Flopsy (Flopsy) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 11:14 pm: Edit

How often are USC students e-mailed about crime occuring in the neighborhood?

By Shyboy13 (Shyboy13) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 12:07 pm: Edit

On average I would say once every two or three weeks.

By Shyboy13 (Shyboy13) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 12:16 pm: Edit

Here is another one I just received. It may be related.


August 23, 2004

At approximately 11:10 AM, Monday August 23, 2004 a female student
reported that she was the victim of a sexual battery. The student stated
that she was walking east through the alley of Vermont and 30th Street
when the suspect grabbed her from behind and touched her

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 35 to 40 years old, 5'10"
to 6'0" and 190-200 pounds. He fled the area in an older model, burgundy

If you have any information regarding this incident please contact the
Department of Public Safety immediately at 213-740-4321 or LAPD
Southwest Bureau 213-847-5945.

By Flopsy (Flopsy) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 04:41 pm: Edit

I guess it's the same Hispanic male this time around, huh?

By Playtothebeat (Playtothebeat) on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 05:36 pm: Edit

these things can happen anywhere, even at BYU

By Shyboy13 (Shyboy13) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 07:23 pm: Edit

I wont post any more of these b/c I think everyone got the point. Here is my latest crime alert email.

University of Southern California Public Safety: Crime Alert


September 2, 2004

The USC Department of Public Safety wants you to know about crimes occurring in
our community. Informed citizens are better
able to ensure their safety as they go about their daily activities. The
following information is provided with your safety in mind.


Seven separate street robberies have occurred in the University Park Campus
area during the past month. Four occurred in the vicinity west of Vermont Ave,
on 36th Place and 37th Street. Three occurred in the vicinity north of
Jefferson and west of Hoover Blvd., on Orchard Ave, 29th Street, and 28th
Street. Each crime has occurred in the early afternoon and early evening
hours, with the exception of one incident occurring in the morning around 9:00
am. Each time there have been two or more suspects. In each of these
incidents, the suspects approached their victims from behind, or asked
questions to take their victim off-guard. Most of these crimes involved a
vehicle. They have used a handgun on two occasions, and bodily force on other
occasions. None of these victims received any injuries.

The suspects in these incidents were described as African-American males,
generally between 14 - 20 years of age. The suspects were 5'6" to 6'5" tall
and weighed 130 - 180 lbs.

If you have any information about these crimes, call the Department of Public
Safety at 740-4321 or LAPD Southwest Division at (213) 485-6570.


1. MOST IMPORTANT-BE AWARE. When walking be aware of what is going on around
you. Walk assertively. If you look like you know where you are going and what
is happening around you, you are less likely to become a target for this type
of crime.

2. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM. Do not study alone in classrooms during non-business
hours. If studying after hours is necessary, make sure that you have a study

3. Don't walk or travel alone, especially after dark. Ask a friend to walk or
ride with you to your car or residence. If you walk with someone, make sure
you wait for them to get inside before you leave. If you don't have anyone to
walk with call for an escort. The USC Campus Cruiser, (213) 740-4911, will
send an escort to give you a ride or walk you to your car between 5 P.M. and

4. Trust your instincts. If something "feels wrong" (with a person, a
building, a situation, etc.), something probably is wrong. Even if you don't
know why you are uncomfortable, change your plans, move away from the person,
get out of the area -whatever is necessary to make the feeling go away.

5. If you feel like you are being followed stay in well lighted areas and go
into a building where there are other people such as a store or restaurant. If
these aren't available, join a group of people and ask them to walk with you
until it is safe.

6. Know the locations of the Emergency Phones (phones outside will have a blue
light on top).

7. Report Suspicious Activity. If you see a person who is acting suspiciously
or some type of activity that doesn't look right, or you feel like you are
being followed, call USC Public Safety immediately and report it. Call
740-4321, to report a crime in progress or suspicious people or activity.

PUBLIC SAFETY - EMERGENCY ..............740-4321
Public Safety - Non-Emergency...........740-6000
USC Campus Cruiser (Escort Service).....740-4911

PUBLIC SAFETY - EMERGENCY....................442-1000
Public Safety - Non-Emergency ...............442-1200
USC Campus Cruiser (Escort Service) .........442-2100

Public Safety Webpage..............

EMERGENCY ................................9-1-1

Lt. Gloria S. Graham
Department of Public Safety
University of Southern California
3667 McClintock Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90089

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