Trinidad & Tobago - Insurance
everywhere. Everyone either has experienced it or knows someone dear who
has felt its horrifying effects. Despite crime’s global presence, some
areas are more prone to its intrusion than others. I am a Trinidadian
and a freshman at Howard University. Before coming to Howard, I heard
many horror stories about violence and crime in America especially in
the black neighbourhoods. Crime is not as prevalent in Trinidad as it is
here in Washington D.C. and by living in DC, I have felt its tremors.
This is my experience.
I live in Carver Hall, which is an
off-campus dormitory in what many call a rough neighbourhood. To the
uninformed outsider, the neighbourhood appears innocent enough. Yet,
during my short stay, numerous incidents testify to the exact opposite.
In the beginning, we, the dorm residents, received stern warnings about
the area surrounding Carver. At first, these warnings seemed to be
exaggerated. Then, incident after incident occurred. I was overwhelmed
by robbery stories from some of my fellow dorm residents. These stories,
vivid and gripping as they were, were not very convincing and did not
register in my mind as support for dorm management’s concerns. It wasn’t
until the time when I arrived at the dorm and met one of my female
friends who was leaving with two other girls. After we had chatted for a
brief moment, I went to bed while they left only to be held up at
gunpoint and ordered to lie on the ground while being robbed. The most
terrifying aspect of this whole fiasco was that it happened in the
playground, which I passed merely five minutes earlier. I can’t help but
wonder what would I have happened if I were in that situation?
Many nights when coming from the
library or the Information Laboratory (I-lab), I am reminded of the fact
that I reside in a violent neighbourhood. One night I saw some of the
most devious characters I ever laid my eyes on. These men looked
dangerous and very vicious. They embodied all the attributes of the most
feared street criminals. On several occasions, I have seen police patrol
cars searching for the ones responsible for some offense. My curiousity,
however, is extinguished by the fear of impending danger. I remember
distinctly witnessing two fellows, one of whom was much younger than I,
hotwiring a car. This was near the same playground mentioned in the
previous paragraph. To ensure my safety, I have adopted the motto: “See
no evil, do no evil and speak no evil.”
My experience with violence at Howard
University is not restricted to the immediate vicinity of my dorm.
Howard University is situated in the heart of Washington DC. Washington
has an established notoriety for hard-core violence and crime, which is
why it was once dubbed the murder capital. I was very elated when
Georgia Avenue Day came by. The event promised to have a lot of fun
activities for everyone. It had not been hosted in over two years and I
was about to find out why. Three of my friends and I were venturing off
the main campus onto the Avenue to partake in the activities when I
observed some men sprinting up the street. My first thought was that it
was a small scuffle. Suddenly, people poured onto the campus in droves
causing one massive stampede. I saw a lady clutch her baby tightly to
her chest as she ran to safety. It was utter chaos. I had no clue what
caused such a spectacle and opted not to stick around to find out. It
was a shoot out between two rival gangs. Helicopters circled the area in
an attempt to capture those responsible. I should have known that it was
inevitable for too many people to be gathered in one place without an
outbreak of violence.
Howard University’s Homecoming is
carded as one of the biggest events on the campus’ calendar. It
comprises the yard fest, the parties, the football game and the
all-round festivity. Homecoming turned out to be quite disastrous. Along
with the merriment came the shooting outside the Howard University
Towers for which the cause is uncertain. Then, there was the groping and
harassment of civilians on Georgia Avenue by the notorious biker crews.
Many of the local hooligans seized the opportunity to revel in their
perverted fashion. Homecoming showed the difficulty involved with
hosting massive events like these. These negative episodes served to
damper the entire Howard University Homecoming experience.
Crime is nothing alien. What is
alien, however, is the intensity and frequency with which these criminal
acts are executed. No one should live in fear; yet, I ponder about when
my hour of tribulation may come. Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. It seems
to be a matter of fate, of destiny. A phenomenon controlled by the
forces that be. Or is it?