No. Not the kind of protection can be easily obtained from SEC (91 St. George St.). It’s easy to see how those things can be associated with libraries…but in this post I’ll be talking about something more serious.
Having lived in China for the first twelve years of my life, I found myself (and my parents) to be rather tense and questioning of our surroundings when we first immigrated to Canada. In the good ol’ motherland, we were so used to being constantly alert that it was almost on the verge of paranoia. So for the first few years in this country, we did what we had always done – always locking our doors even when we were home, checking to see if the doors were locked at least three times before finally leaving the house, tightly clutching onto purses when walking down a street…you know, all the symptoms of someone whose sympathetic system is functioning at an all-time high.
Canadians, I’ve found, are the exact opposite. As a Canadian, I’ve found that we tend to place a lot of personal trust in our society, and tend to have an innate, unwavering faith that, under most circumstances, nothing would go wrong. This is why some people leave their cars unlocked after parking them outside a store. This is why some people never lock their doors even at night. This is why some people feel that they are safe walking amidst a sea of people down a street and thus never fear the possibility of getting shot.
I mean, honestly, what are the chances?
Students especially, can sometime have a rose-coloured perception of their surroundings. After all, we are in an academic environment, and most people around us are probably faculty or students just like ourselves. True, there are the occasional small instances where something weird (and not even that outrageous) happens, like a pair of boots getting stolen from a student’s dorm room (poor soul), but what are the chances that something much more unfortunate would happen? You’d think…probably never?
All the good characteristics of a library: the privacy, the lack of people in certain areas, the dimmed lighting among the stacks, and the slightly self-concerned atmosphere, all make it a place for potential danger. So next time you study in a library, and have to use the bathroom, take precautions. Politely ask the person sitting next to you to look after your stuff while you are gone – studies have shown that a person is far more likely to intervene in the theft of someone else’s possessions if that person had asked him or her to look after it beforehand. If you prefer to study in the quieter and more isolated areas, such as the 10th floor of Robarts, try going with a friend.
There are many other ways to protect yourself, so to avoid casting your exciting undergraduate experience at UofT in shadows. More information can be found on the Community Safety Office website, such as a whole list of valuable On-Campus Safety Tips. Remember, the very first key to any kind of success–like personal safety–is awareness.