Is DU keeping students safe?

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DU sidewalk at night.

DENVER- Springtime at the University Denver to many students means tailgates, formals, and day-drinking with friends. As the winter weather fades away and the days grow longer, Denver’s campus comes alive with activity. However, the good weather doesn’t always go hand in hand with good behavior.

“There is something about the excitement of spring quarter on our campus that makes people act a little crazier and care about their own safety less,” said DU sophomore Madelyn Tenenbaum.

Since March 1st 2017 there have been fifty-three reported incidents of crime on DU’s campus. Of these fifty-three incidents ten were assaults, nine were thefts, and two were sexual assaults. According to DU’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report from 2015, there were eighty-five criminal offenses that occurred on DU’s academic and residential campuses.

“It’s definitely concerning hearing about the incidents that occur on our campus, I think sometimes people forget that we go to school in a pretty big city where crime is more prevalent,” said DU sophomore Griffin Powell.

In the effort to ensure its students’ safety, the University of Denver has established its own Department of Campus Safety. According to its website, the department is staffed twenty four hours a day, year-round by trained professionals.

The Department of Campus Safety provides multiple resources to students regarding their personal safety. Some of the resources available on the department’s website include personal safety training sessions, walking escorts, and contact information of safety professionals and centers. Students can even receive CPR/AED training taught by certified professionals.

“I am unaware of most of what Campus Safety does on this campus,” said Tenenbaum.

“We see Campo [Campus Safety Officers] driving around campus all the time but I have no idea where to go to find the building or any of the other resources they offer.”

The office of the Campus Safety Department is tucked into the center of campus, located in the parking building on the corner of High Street and Evans Avenue, the office is not a place students frequent often.

The Department of Campus Safety also houses DU’s Campus Safety Officers quarters. “Campo” as students refer to them are a known presence on campus according to Powell.

In their informational brochure available online, the University of Denver’s Campus Safety Officers are described as highly trained individuals who work to protect the life, safety, and property of students, staff, faculty and community members on campus.

Campus Safety Officers patrol DU’s campus and respond to calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. According to their website, approximately 1,000 reports are written annually by DU’s officers.

According to the brochure, Campus Safety Officers have a strong working relationship with the Denver Police Department. The two departments exchange information about crimes and other issues on and around campus on a daily basis.

When it comes to a bad situation, Tenenbaum and Powell both said they would rather call the Denver Police than Campus Security.

“I trust the Denver Police more. Many of my friends have had experiences with campus security where they needed help but only ended up getting in trouble,” mentioned Tenenbaum.

In May of 2015, a DU student was paralyzed after being taken to a detoxification center for alcohol consumption. After the student’s family requested information on the situation, the university responded saying it followed university protocol for intoxicated students.

During that same year there were fourteen reports of the use of force by Campus Safety Officers and a total of four complaints questioning the actions of Campus Safety Officers.

Julia Stratton a sophomore at the University of Denver has found herself questioning Campus Safety Officers after recent events.

“The last incident I experienced was handled very poorly by campus security. The officers ended up framing the fraternity that was near where the incident occurred. They made it out to seem like it was a fraternity member who was the perpetrator and that was very much not the case,” Stratton explained.

When it comes to reoccurring incidents such as last year’s forcible fondlings, students agreed that communication plays a key part when it comes to campus safety.

All students and staff receive e-mails in the event of an emergency, but members of the DU community can also sign up online to receive emergency notifications on their mobile devices through text messages and phone calls.

“I think the Campus Safety Department does a good job of communicating when a crime has occurred, we all get little alerts minutes after it happens,” said Powell.

In their Brochure the Campus Safety Department writes, “Our goal is to be there for students when they need us. If you see something, say something.”

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