Daniel Singer claims to “applaud” the efforts of the DPS in preventing crime (“Shirking Duty” 07/24/2011). In fact, he does these efforts little justice. His “applause” is a weak rhetorical gesture in a letter I can only characterize as slip-shod or willfully distorting.

Mr. Singer would have it that DPS suggests, instills the opinion or even holds that victims are to blame for crime. Which of these is it? A proper distinction is never made. As the reader proceeds, they are told that DPS “is represented as having the attitude” of victim blaming; that they “instill the attitude” of victim blaming and that they “suggest” the same. Finally, DPS simply “tells” victims they are to blame, the effects of which Singer likens to terrorism. This language is at best slippery and at worst, I think, in bad faith.

But the larger issue is whether DPS in fact blames victims. Singer seems of the mind that offering safety advice is tantamount to blame, a logic as addled as it is flawed. Criminals cause crimes, as Mr. Singer well knows. But it is also the job of DPS, indeed their duty, to identify factors correlated with these crimes – namely, factors by which criminals target and select victims. Are they wrong to caution us about these factors? Is this victim blaming, in other words? To my mind, no. DPS is only advocating we make ourselves less susceptible targets. Having little room, I can say no more, except that this sort of advice is sensible and in no way accusatory or oppressive, as the author suggests.

I trust that DPS is genuinely concerned with student safety. I must also assume its staff, working in crime prevention, knows something more about the subject than the average Daily hack, even one with a degree in philosophy.

Ethan Menchinger is a Rackham graduate student.

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