2018 Security and Fire Safety report provokes discussion around safety

By Tatyanna Carman

Both burglary and domestic violence cases on the Lawrenceville campus at Rider increased between 2017 and 2018, according to the 2018 annual security and fire safety reports. 

The annual security and fire safety reports are the number of Clery reportable crimes, arrests, disciplinary actions and judicial referrals that occur on the Lawrenceville and Princeton campuses, as well as the reported fires that occur in residence halls and fire systems, according to Public Safety Capt. Jim Flatley. 

“It is difficult to say what contributed to the increase in the number of reported burglaries in 2018. There were 16 reported burglaries that occurred on the Lawrenceville campus; 15 of them were in the residence halls. Of the 15, eight were reported in Poyda Hall, and of those eight, seven occurred over spring break. We did an extensive investigation to identify who was responsible, but we were not successful,” said Flatley.

These statistics brought in the question of overall safety on campus. 

Freshman biology major Corinne Rosso gave her thoughts on the increase in crime in these areas. She said she was surprised by the reports.

“I know that Rider is huge on safety and prevention of any violence or anything like that. From what I’ve seen, I haven’t seen any problems. I mean, that’s just from my eyes and where I’ve been. It could be different for someone else,” Rosso said. 

Rosso also shared that Rider “doesn’t seem like a place where I would have to be cautious of where I am or anything like that.” 

On the other hand, junior criminal justice major Destiny Waters hesitated on her answer and said that surveillance is “minimum to none.” 

“Yes there is a scanner to get in the building as a whole and I have a key, but our campus is open. There is no one monitoring who comes onto our campus,” Waters said. “Again, the surveillance needs to be addressed, also having police officers monitor our campus instead of security jobs because there are limitations to how much they can protect us.”

Waters also shared that she recently got her Apple AirPods, which are wireless headphones which retail for about $159,  stolen so she knows, “about the theft on our campus, personally.” 

Both students gave their advice to their peers at Rider.

“I see a lot of people walking a lot with their phones in their faces. So obviously if you’re like walking across the street, maybe you should look around,” Rosso said.

Walters echoed her sentiment. 

“Be cautious and do not get comfortable with your surroundings,” said Waters. This coincides with Flatley’s advice as well. He said to think of a residence hall as a neighborhood.

“They should get to know who belongs, who visits… If they see something out of the ordinary call Public Safety,” said Flatley. “When walking around campus, I encourage students to look where they are going and not have their full attention on their cell phone. We encourage students to be aware of their surroundings and to walk with others at night. Public Safety does offer a Safety Escort through the Bronc Safety Services program.”

He also stressed the safety of faculty, staff and visitors as well. 

“If anyone is the victim of a crime we want them to report it to us. If you see something, say something. I believe that Public Safety is part of the university’s educational mission,” Flatley said. “I realize that some think we are only here to write parking tickets or refer cases to the Office of Community Standards, but Public Safety does have a role in providing an environment that is conducive to the educational pursuits of our community.”

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