A new Campus Safety initiative is adding another measure of security for the Colorado College community, utilizing student-volunteers to help alleviate issues in neighborhoods surrounding campus.
Campus Safety employs 18 safety officers as well as two administrative officers and one Colorado Springs Police Department officers. These 21 officers patrol a campus of 2,008 students and 167 faculty members. Their mission is to ensure safety around campus and in the surrounding community.
With such a ratio of Campus Safety staff to students and faculty plus the accessibility of campus to Colorado Springs criminals, who have already stolen 25 bikes this year, how can CC Campus Safety effectively respond to the crimes on campus?
In April 2012, Campus Safety launched Tiger Patrol as a means of initiating peer-to-peer interaction and support of campus wide security.
Tiger Patrol began in part because of the large increase in complaints from Colorado Springs locals during the 2011-2012 school year. These complaints were for noise, public urination, and drunken disturbances.
“We wanted to come up with some program to help alleviate the issues with the local community and [with] campus,” said Pat Cunningham, Director of Campus. “Members of Residential Life, the CSPD, and Campus Safety wanted to start the conversation with the students about this problem.”
Campus Resource Officer Jason Newton began exploring peer-to-peer safety programs at other colleges, including University of Oregon and Purdue.
“Basically, we stole things from various colleges’ programs and adapted it to the CC and Colorado Springs communities,” Newton said.
Instead of the CSPD or Campus Safety shutting down parties and ticketing kids for public intoxication or a minor in possession, student Tiger Patrol volunteers oversee on- and off-campus areas to inform students of the consequences of their illegal actions in effort to sway their future, possibly illegal decision making.
Volunteers do not record names or give out tickets, but rather keep tallies of the number of violations cited.
These tallies help gauge the success of the program: as students become more aware of the repercussions of their actions, the fewer tallies.
“We act as a sober set of eyes and ears…to help students be aware of noise, safety, or legal concerns before any authority is involved,” Tiger Patrol volunteer Matthew Swartsfager said. “Only under the most grave circumstances are those violations reported.”
Another component of Campus Safety’s efforts to curb crime on campus is the implementation of Tiger Watch.
Tiger Watch is a community code among the students to look out for one another. All over campus there are stickers for Tiger Watch reading “Our Tiger Eyes Are Watching You,” which Cunningham explains to function as “a message to people that would victimize campus safety.”
Student involvement in Tiger Patrol and safety efforts has continued to increase as the program grows in popularity. For instance, the Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) fraternity has approach Campus Safety with the idea for a Safe Walk program, which would be an alternative to students in need of getting home if Safe Ride’s wait time is too long.
Tiger Patrol’s growth and success is also measured by the increase in students calling in to report suspicious activity.
“A successful program results in a increase in the number of calls we get reporting suspicious activity,” said Newton, “Sometimes there seems like there are more crimes, but it’s actually an increase in awareness of the students.”
Cunningham and Newton’s goals for the future of Tiger Watch include increasing student awareness and participation as well as providing students with more reliable resources to get home from parties at night.
“One of the concerns we heard previously was the long wait for Safe Ride,” Newtown said “We want people to use the shuttle and Safe Ride and want no barriers to that.”