Keeping Neighborhood Crime Off Campus

by Jaime Welsh

The September 2nd armed robbery on the corner of Fern Street and Girard Avenue has sparked questions on the prevalence of crime in and around campus.

According to Sergeant Kurpiewski from the UConn Police Department, the September incident was the first violent crime reported in the area since he transferred to the Law School from Storrs about one and a half years ago. Kurpiewski said that “crime [in the area] is relatively low.” Most of what the UConn Police Department does is conduct a proactive approach to prevent crime.  This includes conducting regular rounds in every building, maintaining a visible presence, and talking with visitors.

Emergency

Kurpiwski outlined a few ways students can stay safe on campus.To keep students informed, there is a University Alert Notification System used to alert students and staff to reported dangers. The system includes website alerts (alert.uconn.edu), an email notification system, text messages, voice messages, an outdoor siren system to alert individuals who are not in buildings, and Blue Phone Kiosks repeat voice alerts (there are five on campus and you can also use them to summon aid). Once an alert is issued, students can find further information and updates at alert.uconn.edu. This website is also where you can register your cell phone number to receive text alerts.

Students and staff can help prevent crime by keeping doors locked and valuables out of sight. Taking these two simple precautions can stop many would-be crimes. Last year, there was also an isolated laptop theft from a student on campus. Crimes like these occur when students leave their laptops unattended to use the bathroom or get a snack, Kurpiewski said. Be cognizant of the danger, and either take your laptop with you, or have someone watch your belongings while you are gone.

UConn Police Car

As for walking home or to you car at night, Kurpiewski recommends traveling in pairs, keeping to well-lit areas, having cell phones out and ready, and paying attention to surroundings.  He advises students who are on campus on weekends and outside of normal hours to make sure they pull doors closed behind them after swiping in.  This ensures that the locking mechanism keeps buildings closed to anyone without a University ID.  Also, before you rush out to buy pepper spray, be aware that the UConn Student Code proscribes the “use, possession, or distribution of . . . hazardous chemicals.”

The UConn Police Department operates 7am to 11pm, Sunday through Friday, and 7am-8pm on Saturdays.  During finals, they work an extended schedule to match the library’s hours.  The police department can be reached at (860) 570-5173.  They are happy to speak with students and staff.

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