Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Statistics reflect safe campus, officials say

It’s the unusual that gets the most attention. And in the case of a recent on-campus carjacking and a robbery nearby, the attention is an example of how safe the University of Denver campus has been.

Tyrone Mills, associate director of Campus Safety, says both statistics and anecdotal evidence shows time and again that the DU campus and surrounding neighborhood has a remarkable record for a location that’s just seven miles from a major urban center.

“Historically, the neighborhoods near DU have been ranked among the city’s safest,” Mills says.

Mills says his office works closely with the Denver Police Department, which maintains a sub-station just a block from campus. Campus Safety officials meet regularly with Denver Police at the station, and both teams talk about neighborhood strategies and share intelligence, he says.

“They keep us apprised of anything that happens in the neighborhood,” he says.

Denver Police Commander Tracie Keesee, who heads the District Three substation near the DU campus, says her officers meet regularly with DU safety officials to review security on campus and to provide information about the neighborhoods surrounding campus.

“We have an outstanding relationship with DU, that’s the best part,” says Keesee, who is in the last year of her PhD studies in communications at DU.

She points to statistics as the prime measure of safety both on campus and off.

Campus Safety records show just four serious incidents on campus in the past year-two forcible sexual assaults, one robbery and one motor vehicle theft. No injuries have been reported from any criminal activity.

Under the federal Clery Act, the Student Right to Know Provision and the Drug-free Schools and Communities Act, DU is required to release information about crimes reported to Campus Safety. The most recent crime statistics by month, quarter and year-to-date are available on the Campus Safety Web site.

And looking off campus, Denver Police records show there was a 16 percent drop in robberies in the University neighborhood last year, and a nearly 15 percent drop in all crime in the area.

Mills says that regardless of the statistics, even one crime is too many, and he says his office encourages all students to stay alert, make use of free campus shuttles, travel in groups and watch out for themselves and each other. Students are encouraged to call the 24-hour dispatch center at 303-871-3000 if they feel anything is out of the ordinary. Officers don’t mind checking things out, no matter how small, he says.

The University takes safety seriously and a strong crime prevention program is already in place, Mills says. Programs and responses include the following:

* Campus Safety has stepped up the frequency of patrols on and near campus. Officers patrol on foot, by bicycle and in marked vehicles.

* The campus has nearly 90 emergency “blue light” phones that link directly to Campus Safety dispatch.

* Free whistles are always available to female students at several locations around campus, including Campus Safety and residence halls.

* Safety alert flyers posted around campus keep students informed.

Visit for additional safety information and tips.

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