Addressing Personal Safety Issues on Alumni Quad and Downtown Campus
by Amy Tucker (November 22, 2005)
Safety at Alumni Quad and around the downtown area has become a concern for many, though the number of criminal incidents reported by the Albany Police Department (APD) involving UAlbany students for 2005 is down from both 2004 and 2003.
The University is responding to these concerns in many ways. In addition to the improvement of lighting and visibility downtown, students requested and were granted 24-hour "swipe card" accessibility to permit access to their halls by cutting through Alumni Quad buildings. A Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) training course is also being offered to women of Alumni Quad and students living downtown.
Student safety is always a top priority. The University Police Department (UPD) and APD maintain open and ongoing communication regarding criminal incidents and investigations and work together to resolve issues involving student safety in the Albany community.
Many steps have been taken to improve campus safety:
- In the last several months, the University
has increased police and security presence
and patrols in the downtown campus and
Alumni Quad areas. The College of Saint
Rose (CSR) Security will be moving its
operations to the Neighborhood Security
Center (on the corner of Partridge and
Western) in January. And, the UPD and Committee
on University & Community
Relations are preparing to have regular
safety programs and meetings in the center.
- The University and UPD encourage students
to voice their safety concerns and work
collaboratively with students, APD, area
colleges, city officials and the community
to be responsive to their needs and recommendations.
Lighting and safety surveys have resulted
in: improvements around entrances and parking
lots; cutting back trees and shrubs for
greater visibility; moving garbage disposals
closer to buildings for nighttime trash
removal; and researching the feasibility
of installing surveillance cameras on Alumni
- Several initiatives are in place to keep
students informed about criminal incidents
and preventive tips. Safety alerts occur
via e-mail blasts, letters to the editor
of the student newspaper, targeted residence
hall letters, literature, and a table
at the annual UAlbany Health and Safety
Fair, as well as periodic campus safety
meetings to address issues and concerns.
The Campus Community Crime Prevention Coalition
involves the sharing of all serious incidents
with students via safety alerts.
- A great majority of the safety improvements
and recommendations have come from the
students themselves. In order for the University's
Advisory Committee on Campus Safety to
be successful in reducing crimes against
and involving students, increased student
and community awareness of crime and crime
prevention is essential. The University
is aggressively promoting personal safety
programs and engaging students and the
community to take an active role in both
prevention and reporting of incidents.
- Students and the University would like
to re-establish a "Neighborhood Watch" program
in the Pine Hills area. This is a student
volunteer program organized by APD, UPD,
and CSR Safety and Security. The success
of this program involves organizing a core
group of students who remain committed to
the safety of other students, and who will
provide ongoing recruiting and training.
An upcoming Voice of the Student panel discussion
on safety issues is expected to produce other
ideas that can strengthen and complement
UAlbany's safety initiatives.
- The University, APD, UPD, and CSR have
a 15-year partnership in the Committee
on University & Community
Relations to improve safety off campus.
They distribute more than 3,000 safety
brochures and door tags annually to off-campus
students and the community, meet with sororities
and fraternities regarding safety and anti-burglary
tips, and participate in door-to-door
safety walks and talks with students and
residents in the Pine Hills area, where
local media have been invited and accompanied
or interviewed Tom Gebhardt, director of
Personal Safety and Off-Campus Affairs,
or President Kermit L. Hall some 10 times
this semester alone.
- In addition to engaging students, participation
from residents in the community is essential
to protecting students and keeping their
neighborhoods safe. UPD and APD hold an
annual meeting with local tavern owners
and off-premise retailers to discuss street
crime, share information, and conduct prevention
surveys and door-to-door interventions.
The University, CSR, UPD, and APD seek
to involve local business and downtown
landowners in investing monetarily and
personally in downtown campus safety initiatives.
One such initiative the students want explored
is the implementation of a "Safe
Ride" program to transport students
from downtown to uptown after buses stop
- Since 1993, UAlbany has distributed 29,000
whistles to students, staff, faculty, and
community members in the Pine Hills area
as part of the "Whistle Watch" Safety
Program. The whistle's distinctive
sound alerts passers-by to contact 911 in
the event of an emergency. Saint Rose, Albany
Medical College, Albany Law School, and Albany
Medical Center are also participating. The
Albany Disabled Alert Program (ADAP) was
initiated for individuals who are physically
challenged and can't blow the whistles.
They are given an adapted pin with a shrieking
alarm that can be easily triggered in the
event of an emergency.