In 2004, the University of La Verne campus suffered three times more criminal offenses than the year before, according to statistics from the Campus Safety Department.
However, some students believe that these statistics do not reflect the level of safety on campus.
“This is a really nice community to live in, and a lot of old people live here,” Patti Shawn, a CAPA senior biology major, said.
“The fact that crime statistics went up does not mean anything,” she added.
ULV student Kristal Solis agreed.
“I think the La Verne area is a safe place to live in, even if statistics went up,” Solis said.
In fact, the rise in crime statistics between 2003 and 2004 does not necessarily reflect a rise in actual crime.
Michael Nunez, department director of Campus Safety, said criminal offenses on campus increased in 2004 mostly because of the way they were counted.
Nunez said that beginning in 2004, Campus Safety was required to report dorm room theft as burglary after a report called the Clery Report came out.
These thefts were previously reported as petty theft, which is only a misdemeanor.
Nunez also said that Campus Safety receives its crime reports from the La Verne Police Department, so crimes committed in surrounding areas, although off campus, are also counted in the statistics.
Overall, students said they feel generally safe on La Verne’s campus.
However, most students said they think that campus is not a very safe area when it is dark.
“During the day it is very peaceful, but I think that at night this is not the safest place for young ladies to walk,” Gimel Brownlee, a sophomore psychology major, said.
“I think that they should try to walk with somebody else.”
Nunez agreed with Brownlee.
“We suggest that everybody travel in pairs,” Nunez said.
Nunez said that La Verne’s Campus Safety Department plays a really important role in creating a safe atmosphere for students.
The main assignments Campus Safety has are closing and opening buildings and classrooms and taking phone calls for a variety of services, including walking students to their rooms at night.
The La Verne Campus Safety Department also gets crime reports for its satellite campuses.
Nunez said one of the department’s greatest challenges is not crime-related.
“Our main challenge is trying to get our emergency preparedness plan in place,” Nunez said.
“Because of what happened in Louisiana with Hurricane Katrina, we are trying to work on the plan. This way, in the event of a major emergency, we will be able to help students and staff and lower the risk of injury,” he added.
With respect to student safety on a daily basis, Nunez said he thinks the Campus Safety Department is doing a good job, but he admits that there is still room for improvement.
“In general, the campus has a very low crime rate, and our goal is to maintain the low crime rate,” Nunez said.”I would also like to see if we could increase patrols on the main campus,” he said.
Antonio Foncillas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.