Study: Crime Stays Low At WestConn In Danbury

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Erica LeBeau and Becky Rivera, both freshmen at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, said they feel safe on campus. Photo Credit: Jes Siart

DANBURY, Conn. — Criminal activity at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury remained at a low level last year, according to a report released last month by the college.

“The report shows that the university continues to be a generally safe place for everyone on campus, which includes students, faculty, staff and visitors,” said Paul Steinmetz, university spokesman.

Overall, 162 crimes were reported in 2011 on the West Side and Midtown campuses, down slightly from 173 in 2010. Although the college reported low crime statistics for most offenses, there was a rise in burglaries, from 12 in 2010 to 15 in 2011.

There also was a jump in liquor law arrests, with six cases in 2011 compared with no cases in 2010 and 2009, according to the WCSU safety report. Although arrests increased, liquor law violations requiring only disciplinary action dropped slightly to 121 in 2011, down from 129 in 2010.

The yearly report of crime statistics on campus is required by the Clery Act, which mandates all colleges and universities receiving federal aid must record and make publicly available all crimes that happen on or near campus.

Despite the slight increase in burglaries and alcohol-related arrests, students said they generally feel safe on campus.

“I feel safe all the time,” said Becky Rivera, a freshman. The lighted pathways reduce potentially dangerous situations, and a police presence creates a sense of safety, she said.

“Whenever there’s an issue in the dorms, police are really quick to respond,” said Erica LeBeau, a freshman.

Ryan McNamara, a freshman, said he doesn’t hear about many crimes or dangerous situations. University officials credit the campus location and several programs and initiatives for the low level of crime.

“We’re in the middle of Danbury, which is a very safe city relatively speaking, so that has an effect on the campus and all institutions in the city,” Steinmetz said. “We also have provided several programs that we think contribute to a sense of safety on campus. Those include discussions with students about drinking alcohol and using drugs and about self awareness in dating situations.”

The university police department engages with students and helps them avoid dangerous situations through self-defense classes and community policing, he said.

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