Are students at DU safe?

By Di Yao and Taylor Cedarholm

 

In recent months The University of Denver has experienced a higher than normal number of criminal incidents.

There have been several robberies and many incidents of sexual harassment on campus and in the surrounding area.

DU’s sends out safety alerts to inform students of these crimes through text messages, phone calls, and emails.

Wei Bai, a senior at DU said, “These emails suddenly make me worried.”

 

Campus Safety

Stephen Banet, a sergeant and crime prevention officer at DU, is assigned as a victim services person, and a public information officer.

“We do proactive things, some of the things I do is crime prevention,” Banet said, “I’m trying to get in front of students and let them know what has happened, not only on campus but in the surrounding area to try and make them aware of the crime trends.”

Several of the recent crimes have taken place off campus grounds, but because they occurred in such close vicinity with DU, campus safety feels it is important to inform students and faculty.

“DU is a private campus but it is open to the public, so it is very hard to control who comes and who goes,” Banet said.

The majority of the time, these crimes are dealt with through the Denver Police Department, and campus safety’s job is to inform the university with details of the crime.

Banet said, “The main thing that everybody really sees us doing is patrolling. You see our patrolling cars, bicycles, segway vehicles and officers on foot. We patrol parking lots, buildings and those kind of things.”

According to Security On Campus, Inc, the Clery Act ,it “requires colleges and universities across the United States to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses”.

“If we feel that there’s a continuing or ongoing threat to the student body or to the school we are obliged to put out a timely notification. So with text messages and the phone calls or with the crime alerts we put up, that satisfies that according to the Clery Act,” Banet said.

DU also follows the Safe School Act, which is meant “to increase respect and responsibility, to set standards for safe learning and safe teaching in schools and to amend the Teaching Profession Act”.

The number of crimes on DU’s campus is lower than the overall crimes in the city of Denver.

“With our trends last year, in looking at crime that was from The Denver Police District Three, which is where we are, they were up about 2.3 percent for the year and 2011, our crime was down almost 14 percent on campus,” Banet said.

Also the number of calls to campus safety has dropped significantly in the past year. “In March of 2012, we had 1,281 calls for service, compared to March of 2011, where we had a little over 1,300 calls” said Banet.

There are almost 500 cameras on campus, campus officers are signed on our dispatcher areas and they are constantly reviewing footage to see if they can catch a crime.

 

Student’s perspective

The crime alerts make students more aware of criminal activity around campus, yet for some it gives them a sense of fear.

“In the beginning, I was a little bit worried about the campus safety system, like what’s going on here,” Bai said.

The main purpose of the email alerts are to make sure all students and faculty are updated about the crime on campus, and it makes them aware of their surroundings.

Amanda Alexander, a junior at DU, said, “The campus safety alerts definitely make me feel more aware. And not only that but they kind of generate a buzz and I always hear my friends talking about them, so even if I don’t actually read the emails I’m still probably going to hear about it.”

“I think this email alert system is helpful. It makes people aware that there are dangers around,” Bai said.

“I’ve always felt really safe around DU; even if I’m walking alone late at night it really doesn’t bother me,” Alexander said.

 

DU offers programs to inform students and faculty about possible criminal situations. One example of such a program is the Rape Aggression Defense class, which is a combination of realistic defense tactics for women. Campus safety also has hundreds of video cameras around campus as well as emergency phones for student’s safety.

3 Responses to Are students at DU safe?

  • Rhianna Dow
    Rhianna Dow says:

    Cool video, very well done and good combination of photos and shots. The photos matched up really well with the audio. I think the interview with the campus safety officer was key and without it, the video would have lacked a big part of the safety problems at DU. Good job!

  • Cory Lamz
    Cory Lamz says:

    I really liked how much variety of shots/photos you had in this piece. Even more so, I loved how much camera movement you incorporated. Those movement shots really added a sense of discomfort that I think wove really into your overall topic: the safety of DU students. Good job!

  • Brian Lupo
    Brian Lupo says:

    I thought you did a really nice job implementing your B-roll. I know in the presentation you said it was hard to get footage to match up, but it is evident you worked really hard and it shows off. I thought this story covered a lot of the aspects of DU safety that can go unappreciated at times. Nice job!

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