Safety First! Five Tips on Staying Safe During the Year’s Peak Crime Season

Of the 200 four-year colleges and universities in New York State, Brooklyn College was ranked the sixth safest college in the state, according to a report released on June 1 by Backgroundchecks.org, a public safety website.

“We are not a residence hall campus, we don’t have dorms. We’re an urban campus – we’re not out in the wilderness covering 500 acres of land where you see more clearly crimes occurring,” said Donald A. Wenz, the director of public safety at Brooklyn College.

Despite Brooklyn College’s prestigious ranking, its campus does not exist in a vacuum, and it is not impervious to crime. Brooklyn College’s annual crime report shows that there were 15 crimes reported on and around campus in 2015, and a closer look into the campus’s crime logs show that the Midwood college’s most frequent offenses are harassment and petit larceny.

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Crime Scene Tape/Creative Commons

As winter approaches and the days start getting shorter, these crimes usually spike at Brooklyn College. Studies show that crime generally tends to spike during warmer months and December, signaling that the onset of holiday season may be responsible for criminals’ rebellious outbursts.

According to Wenz, Brooklyn College typically sees an increase in crime during September, October and November. The predictable uptick coincides with the end of daylight savings time and the start of the holiday season.

And, since those two occurrences are a few short weeks away, here are five tips on how to stay safe on campus as the darkness creeps in and the imaginary scents of roasted turkey waft into our midterm study sessions:

  1. After dark, walk in well-lit areas, remain on well-traveled walkways, and walk in groups. If you find yourself alone and in need of an escort, the Office of Campus and Community Safety Services at extension 5511 can provide security escorts to campus parking lots and nearby bus and subway stations.
  2. Keep a watchful eye on your personal property. If you need to step out for a few minutes, make sure to take your property with you or leave it with a trustworthy person.
  3. Prevent “crimes of opportunity” by doing simple things – like properly locking up your bicycle and concealing valuables. Many students who wouldn’t normally steal might be temped to swap a cellphone, laptop or tablet if the situation makes it too easy for them to refuse.
  4. Be observant. Pay attention to your surroundings and the people around you, and be aware of situations that would make you vulnerable to crime.
  5. If you see something, say something! Any suspicious activity on or near the campus should be reported to the Office of Campus and Community Safety Services.

“If the students on this campus are a little bit more [careful] – and I keep stressing this, and I’ve been stressing this for years – and take more care of their personal property, you will see a dramatic decrease in that type of crime, which is the crime that affects this campus the most,” Wenz said.

With that in mind, good luck during the mid-semester crunch, and remember not to lose track of your grades – and your personal belongings!

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