Campus safety a hot orientation topic for students, parents

University Police work to combat Buffalo State’s reputation as “dangerous” city campus

With new students and faculty coming every year to Buffalo State, education of safety services is key.

Past events of violent crime give those on campus good reason to become aware of the services provided by University Police that can keep them safe.

Chief of University Police, Peter Carey, said that orientation for new students is an opportunity to inform people about how to stay safe on, and off campus.

“We address incoming freshmen, transfer students, and their parents regarding the safety issues here on campus,” Carey said.

Carey noted one tip that is communicated by UPD is to encourage each student to program its number (878-6333) into his or her cellphones.

“(We suggest this) just because people are taught to call 911, which is just going to delay any police response,” Carey said. “If an incident happens on campus, it is better to call university police directly.”

There are services already present on campus to provide help to those facing an emergency, including tips to follow to ensure safe passage through the campus.

Blue light emergency phones are placed throughout campus for easy communication with campus police in case of emergency.

The campus map detailing the location of these safety beacons, which can be found on the UPD web page, shows a total of 42 scattered about.

Each phone, adorned with a blue light above the receiver for easy locating, has a simple dial pad, and red emergency button. With the use of this device in an emergency, University Police will be instantly notified of the exact location where the emergency is taking place.

“(People on campus) can use them to report an emergency, or just a need for assistance, which is a direct dial to our dispatch,” Carey explained. “Even if the person is unable to speak, we have officers respond to see if someone is in need of assistance.”

Records of crime statistics for the Buffalo State campus are posted online, and according to the UPD, crime is on a steady decrease on campus.

One factor that has to do with this decrease is that, with more safety education on campus, more individuals are able to deter preventable crimes.

Walking through the campus alone at night through isolated areas is probably the peak point of vulnerability to crime. It is recommended that you plan your route through well-lit populated areas, and travel with a friend.

Meg Knowles, an associate professor in the communication department, said: “I definitely schedule my courses during times when campus is busy. The one semester I had classes that finished after dark, I always got someone to walk to my parking lot with me.”

As encouraged by UPD, walking in groups is a good idea.

“There is safety in numbers,” Carey said. “(Students) should be aware of their surroundings — don’t walk with your ear buds in your ears. You don’t want to be doing anything so that you’re so distracted that you can’t pay attention.”

The best way to ensure your safety around campus, especially when going to places on the exterior like parking lots, is to call for a Buffalo State walking escort, Carey said.

Walking escorts are provided by the police department on request and would likely be a University Police student assistant.

Safe van escorts are also provided to get you to your car or across campus. These vans are operational, with a slight variation in route, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and are free to students.

“The NFTA shuttle busses operate the campus,” Carey said. “We also provide busses from the back parking lots — Lot M, Lot G — and drop off students or faculty at Lot C in the center of campus.”

UPD also offers educational programs including a self-defense class called Rape Aggression Defense. The class is free of charge, and can be registered for on the UPD web site.

Andrew Manzella can be reached by email at [email protected].