At least one student encountered theft every day during first month
Opening month of school year averages more than a theft a day
During the first month of school, streets neighboring Syracuse University — typically home to off-campus student housing — experienced 32 crimes including burglary, larceny, and multiple counts of vehicle theft.
Despite at least one in every 100 students having property stolen over the 30-day period, the SU Department of Public Safety only issued one safety notice in an email that warned students about vehicle thefts on South Campus. It arrived in student inboxes on September 1.
Exactly a month later, the second and only other email regarding student safety thus far arrived on October 1, reporting that there were several burglaries on the 200 block of Comstock Ave.
Joseph W. Shanley, a retired Syracuse police officer and current DPS patrol officer said that communications between DPS and students specifically work to increase awareness for students.
“The Department of Public Safety only notifies the entirety of the student body during instances of an active threat,” said Shanley, who retired from the SPD just 12 years ago.
Despite this, he believes that the University’s system, in combination with assistance with the SDP, has been effective in creating a peaceful environment for students.
“We are working towards a joint-support system … where we prioritize visibility and accountability for all,” said Shanley.
Syracuse Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Matthew Malinowski agreed with DPS but said that the true cause of these crimes is a lack of education.
“People aren’t taking the necessary precautions to stay safe,” said Malinowski.
In the past, DPS has enacted safety programs, hosted information sessions, and placed news advertisements to help prevent the rise of burglaries and larcenies in the area. But Malinowski says he believes such efforts are mostly ineffective.
On-campus, DPS recently began the process of strengthening 24-hour security of all University dormitories with 96 new officers for added safety.
“Our goal is to keep unauthorized personnel out of a place we can control — the dormitories,” said Shanley.
However, off-campus housing areas have been hit harder, according to data from the Syracuse Police.
The University Area Crime-Control Team, “patrols in the immediate off-campus and fraternity/sorority neighborhoods focused on robbery and burglary suppression,” according to the official DPS website.
The site also claims that officers are on patrol from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. on weekends, where DPS feels students are most at risk. Those areas include the University campus, as well as a wide net from the four corners of Westcott St., Genesee St., I-81, and South Campus.
However, a majority of the 32 crimes from the first month of classes occurred during those hours.