Annual Security Report details campus crime

Auraria Campus remains one of the safest higher education environments in Colorado according to Auraria’s Annual Security Report.

Michael Phibbs, chief of the Auraria Campus Police, reassures students about campus safety. Low campus crime rates are reported in the latest Annual Security Report. Photo by Phillip Poston | pposton1@msudenver.edu

“I feel safe. I have night classes and I don’t feel uncomfortable walking from campus to my car.” said MSU Denver senior Hailey Knight.

She said that as a woman she can feel threatened but was reassured after learning about the campus’ public safety statistics. However, one thing that Knight remains concerned over is an active shooter situation.

“It’s always in the back of my head,” she said.

It’s a threat that also concerns Auraria Campus Police Chief Michael Phibbs.

“I worry about those kinds of attacks a lot,” he said five days after the Las Vegas shooting.

To allay the fear, ACPD holds safety talks on campus to prepare students and staff for any eventualities. The department continuously examines mass casualty events to review and revise response tactics and train officers accordingly.

The federally mandated report requires colleges and universities to publish crime statistics for the preceding three years. The ASR covers crimes that occur on campus as well as the surrounding public property. Dave Haden, associate dean for Student Engagement and Wellness, and whose office is partially responsible to the U.S. Department of Education for compiling the ASR, said, “We take this report very seriously. For each incident not included in the report, we could potentially be fined $54,000.”

The report showed that 12 vehicle thefts occurred on campus last year and one at a non-campus site. Thirteen reported domestic violence crimes were reported as well as 12 reports of stalking on campus. One additional stalking event happened on public property. One rape and two incidents of fondling occurred. Eleven burglaries and four robberies took place as well. For the second year, drug law violations topped the list of reported crimes. Thirty-three occurred on campus and 22 on public property. Phibbs said that heroin was the most frequently seen substance.

Although not included in the ASR, trespassing and warrant arrests were the offences most commonly reported to ACPD. Phibbs said those citations were often related to heroin use and that he sees signs of the opioid epidemic everyday.

The police chief also said that most crimes on campus are preventable. He advises individuals on campus to keep a close eye on electronic devices and to not leave bags or valuables in plain view inside cars. He also pointed out that thieves target bicycles with wire locks. U-locks can be purchased for $5 at the campus police station.

Phibbs said that Auraria Campus is a very safe place and that he is proud of Auraria’s crime statistics.

“I think if you look at a community of 45,000 plus people on campus and look at the number of serious crimes we have, it is really low,” he said.

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