Chico City Council needs to reevaluate “rape trail” solution


Welcome to Chico, California. This city boasts a beautiful park, a diverse habitat of trees, the second oldest California State University and a “rape trail.” 

The Chico State “rape trail” is a bike path that runs along the edge of campus and beside the railroad tracks.

The dimly-lit and overgrown bike path has gained its notoriety from countless sexual assaults and burglaries over the last few years.

There has been a lot of push from the community and campus officials for someone in power to take action to eliminate these attacks. Campus authorities have even said that they push over the fence so victims are able to make an escape if need be.

In early February, the city council approved $13,000 cameras to be put along this bike path as soon as funding is available. This could be a step in the right direction—if a step is actually taken.

These cameras are dependent on funding which could take months to collect. On top of that, the cameras that were proposed don’t even record footage. This would mean that in order for them to be effective, someone would have to be paid to watch the cameras at all times.

Where will that money come from?

Plus, if assaults aren’t being recorded how will they be used in potential trials and ultimately help victims with their cases?

The city council was in a position to do real good and remove this stain on the city’s reputation and unfortunately missed the mark big time.

Just because an assault is being filmed won’t change the fact that an assault is happening.

What this bike path needs is regular maintenance of the overgrown bushes that attackers hide in, brighter and lower lighting so students can actually see their surroundings and access points along the fence where people can escape if they need to.

Cameras could be a great idea after all these prevention measures have been met.

Hell, put a couple cameras on the new and effective light poles.

If city council is really struggling to find solutions or cameras less than $13,000 that actually do anything, there has to be someone in this town that has an iPhone 4 they would let the council have.