Campus crime down, but stay vigilant, say Queens police officials

An annual security report required by federal law indicates a drop in crime on the Queens campus. While the statistics are headed in the right direction and indicate that the University’s regular focus on crime prevention may be having its intended effect, Queens security officials say there are still some crimes that are more prevalent than others.

According to Ray Thrower, assistant vice president of campus security, “thefts, illegal alcohol and drugs and sexual assaults, which are under-reported,” are the most prevalent crimes that take place on campus. Last year, there were three sex offenses, 16 burglaries, 65 alcohol violations and three drug violations on campus. The year 2012 was better than the year 2011.

And what about this year?

“This year has been very quiet,” said Mac Cable, chief of Campus Police. “It’s been excellent so far.”

The Clery Act requires any college or university that participates in federal financial aid programs to disclose crime information for its campus and neighboring areas. The act is the reason a crime report is updated and made available to the public every year around Oct. 1.

“I made sure to find and read the yearly crime report for Queens before I decided to come to school here. It was very important to me that I knew the crime statistics,” said sophomore Amber Reed.

Charlotte is divided into districts and crime is more prevalent in some than in others. Queens is a part of the Providence district. The rate of crime on college campuses is usually lower than in the city itself, said Thrower.

Queens Campus Police currently has eight full-time officers. They are trained to handle certain crimes and reports. However, if there are murders or assaults, they go to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Though crime rates are down, crime awareness should still be practiced by students, said security officials. Thrower and Cable gave advice regarding being safe on and off campus.

Being aware, reporting something if you see it and only trusting people to a certain extent were some of the main ideas to remember. Walking with someone late at night and not allowing strangers into dormitories are also important ways to decrease your chance of being robbed or assaulted, they said.

To illustrate the point, they told the story of a student who let a stranger into her residence hall only to find out later that he was a sex offender.

Many students go for runs around Myers Park with headphones on or walk around campus with their eyes glued to their cell phones. Security experts say these behaviors make people more vulnerable to predators. When listening to music or looking at phones, students are not able to hear or pay attention to what is going on around or behind them.

Unfortunately, not every crime is reported. Students should remember that it is important to report crime if they have experienced it or seen it, said Campus Police. It is a part of prevention and keeping others on campus safe.

A major factor in the low crime rate of Myers Park is that “each neighbor looks out for one another, and they report something when they see it,” said Cable.

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Published by students of Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28274.