DU students’ opinions differ about levels of safeness on campus

Campus safety is a primary concern of every college or university. Given the young demographic and student activity there is cause for worry. At DU, statistics confirm that crime rates in the community are higher when school is in session and students are living in close quarters.

Stephen BanetCampus safety is a concern

Consensus is that students at the University of Denver feel relatively safe on campus and statistics from the Department of Campus Security Crime Log which is available to the public, indicate the crime rate has remained at a consistent level without increasing. While Campus Safety strives to do an excellent job patrolling the campus, investigating reports of incidences and reprimanding offenders, students’ opinions as to their effectiveness, however, are mixed.

Emily, a DU freshman whose last name is omitted for privacy reasons, relayed an alarming experience she recently had. “My roommate had weapons. She threatened me and made me feel very unsafe. Campus police didn’t do anything.” Concerned for her own safety, she switched roommates but felt that the offense wasn’t handled as a serious manner. She felt that her perpetrator wasn’t held accountable for the incident.

Crime laws

The federal government regulates the reporting of criminal activity by all colleges and/or universities that participate in federal financial aid programs through various statuses such as the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Security Act (“Clery Act”). Under the Clery Act, DU is required to maintain and report criminal activity statistics on or in areas surrounding campus. DU’s Crime Log is mandated to be public and to disclose the last 60 days worth of criminal activity. The act also requires that the University provide timely warnings of potentially dangerous incidences to students and employees.

When asked how frequently students hear about incidences occurring on or off campus, most indicated that they heard frequently and felt very informed about criminal activity.  Emergency notifications sent by DU via emails and texts are required and intended to keep the community on alert when necessary.

The opinion of men and women differ and the level of assurance is often based on gender, the University’s student population and its location. Junior Brian Akpore indicated that, “As a guy, I feel pretty safe.” Annalisa Triola, a senior at DU on the other hand, shared that while she feels fairly safe on campus, her level of comfort decreases when she walks off campus. Degrees of concern regarding safety were higher for both sexes at night in the dark.

Fear of sexual assault

Most students feel empowered by the University’s diligent compliance with the “Clery Act” and the various educational programs on campus safety available through the University. DU offers new students an extensive overview of campus security procedures during Discoveries Orientation. Information on what to do, how to report an incident and what resources are available to help cope with trauma is provided. Students are also familiarized with the various safety equipment located throughout campus.

Blue poles with emergency phones are positioned at strategic points on campus to ensure safety and prevent serious assault crimes. Carolyn Neff, a DU freshman, stated that although she feels relatively safe walking on campus, she believes that these “blue poles are pretty far apart, especially by Nelson and Nagel.”

Blue Pole

The general feeling is that campus is safe, yet many women still worry about sexual assaults. Jeannie Round, a freshman at DU shares that her biggest safety fears on campus are threatening men and rape. She is not alone. Triola also worries about reports of recent sexual abuse and the date rape incident.

Stephen Banet, a Sergeant/Crime Prevention Officer with Campus Safety, said that Campus Safety will go “months without an attack, then periodically we will have a few women coming forward at once. By far, most of these assaults are by someone they know.” On January 7, 2013, Campus Safety released a Crime Alert notifying the DU community of a current investigation into multiple sexual assault reports that occurred over an eight-month period Vista Lofts and Nagel. The suspect was known to students and may have used alcohol or date rape drugs to enable his assault.

Campus Safety’s job is to ensure the University of Denver community feels safe and to disseminate information about potential safety risks. Officers are on constant duty.  Security enforcement is on a 24-hour basis, 7 days a week and they respond to any incoming reports. The Daily Crime Log of the last 60 days revealed that during November, there were 53 reported offenses, 45 occurred on campus and 8 off campus. In December over winter break, the number of incidences decreased to 18 with 17 on campus and 1 off campus. Banet, confirmed that statistically, most reports involve theft of some sort and liquor laws, underage possession.

3 Responses to DU students’ opinions differ about levels of safeness on campus

  • Robyn Wise
    Robyn Wise says:

    This piece did a great job of expressing a variety of different viewpoints without demonstrating much bias for one side or the other. Your use of subheads and links made it easy to read in the online context and well formated for the web. I also appreciated that you clearly explained each term you used to give the audience a clearer understanding of the topic. The statistics scattered throughout the article pulled the whole story together and provided good evidence to back up everything that you were saying. Nice job!

  • Brendan Cronin
    Brendan Cronin says:

    I think that you did a great job with the interviewing of students of both sexes as well as a campus safety officer. I agree with Robyn about you doing a great job not using bias, but explaining how while some students have no complaints, other students do not feel safe. Writing about the frequency of incidents was also very informative, great job!

  • Nicole Eldridge
    Nicole Eldridge says:

    Olivia, you definitely did an awesome job bringing up many different viewpoints in your article. Not only did you interview both sides of the story, but also interviewed a Campus Safety officer. It is interesting to see how opposite sexes feel different about campus safety. As a girl, I can definitely relate to feeling a bit scared walking around campus during late hours, but it is good to know that Campus Safety does their best to ensure a safe environment every minute of the week.

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