Campus safety is an issue that is looming in the minds of both teams vying for the Washburn Student Government Association presidency.
Garrett Love and Caley Onek have developed something akin to a neighborhood watch program, while Will Lawrence and Charity Hockman are rallying for students who live on campus to have the parking spots closest to residential living reserved. Yet, the main issue is whether safety is a problem on campus.
“I walked to the Zeta house from the law school at night and there has been an increase in security by the campus police and they are top notch,” said Betsy Baker, a junior economic and finance major.
According to the Washburn University Police Department, in the past year there has been one case of motor vehicle theft, five cases of arson and nine cases of burglary. When compared to Emporia State, Washburn’s campus safety stats are similar to other universities. The ESU university’s police department reported Emporia experienced two cases of forcible sex offenses, one case of aggravated assault, 11 cases of burglary and five cases of arson.
“I feel uncomfortable when walking on campus at night, but I see the campus police around constantly,” said Alison King, freshman business major.
Washburn University’s Police Department is required by law to keep crime statistics viewable to the public, and it has a bulletin board map of Washburn with pin points that illustrate where crime took place on campus. The WUPD also provides services in an effort to keep students safe. For example, officers can escort someone from one place on the campus to another if the person doesn’t feel safe doing so alone.
“I have two daughters who go to Washburn University and take night classes and I’m never concerned about their safety risk walking on campus at night but there is always that chance,” said Dean Forster, director of University Police. “I’m not too concerned because every area of campus is covered by a camera.”