October 8, 2021 | NEWS | By Iona Ellsworth | Photo by Rickki Held

Last week, the Colorado College Campus Safety Office released its annual safety report, a 43-page document which outlines crime and fire statistics on and around campus from 2020. 

The report was executed in compliance with the Clery Act — a law which requires colleges that receive financial aid assistance from the federal government to track crime on campus and in the immediate vicinity. 

Beyond complying with federal regulation, Campus Safety directors Cathy Buckley and Andreanna Trujillo hope the report will provide the CC community with some pertinent information about the nature of on-campus crime. 

“We want students, staff and faculty to see what kind of crime is occurring in our general area,” Buckley said. “The report shows ongoing patterns and concerns.”

In drafting the report, Campus Safety directors pull from a wide range of sources in order to offer the most accurate possible snapshot of crime occurring on campus and in the surrounding areas. 

“We gather data from the conduct specialist, confidential reporters, and from our own computers,” Buckley said. “Then, we send letters to the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) and the County Sheriff’s office asking for a very specific subset of crimes occurring between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 of that year.” 

Readers of the new report should bear in mind that certain classifications of crime are not included in the metrics of reporting mandated by the Clery Act. 

“Bike thefts, for example, are not something they require us to report,” Buckley said. “They want information on burglaries, vehicle thefts, property crimes and any type of personal crimes like robbery, assault and homicide.” Consequently, the report does contain some blind spots when it comes to the specifics of on-campus crime.

In order to stay ahead of the kinds of petty crimes not included in the report, Campus Safety encourages students to think about ways of preventing crimes as opportunity.

“Take actions that discourage other people from making you into a victim,” Buckley said. “That means walking in a group at night. It means that if you have a car, you don’t leave your valuables visible. It means locking your doors and your windows. It also means registering the serial numbers of your electronic equipment.” 

In the case of a crime being perpetuated on or near campus, there are many resources available to members of the CC community. Campus Safety abides by a blended model of security, whereby CSPD operates as a reinforcement option for trained civilian Campus Safety officers. 

“Campus Safety officers are incredible at de-escalating people,” said Sid Santos, Colorado Springs Campus Resource Officer and CC alum. “Usually, I just kind of stand back if there’s an incident. They talk to people and calm them down. If it’s something that can’t be de-escalated, then I’ll get involved, but typically, I don’t have to.”

CSPD’s presence on campus is beneficial beyond immediate conflict resolution. 

“If students need to report something like a bike theft, or being taken advantage of through an online scheme, Sid is immediately available to do that,” Buckley said. “Whereas if you go to the city of Colorado Springs, you’re going to go on a queue and you’re going to have to wait.”

For students who are interested in increasing their personal sense of security, Campus Safety offers a range of free resources. 

“For off-campus students, we offer ‘Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design’,” Buckley said. “A campus resource officer or trained Campus Safety officer will come look at your residence and make some suggestions on improving security.” 

Campus Safety encourages students to request self-defense courses and urges student participation in real-time crime reporting. 

“Never question [your gut],” said Trujillo. “If you see something that’s a little iffy, that information is perfectly welcomed for us to troubleshoot to see if it’s verifiable or if it was something innocent.”

Campus Safety also encourages students to check out online resources for crime reporting in the wider Colorado Springs area. Myneighborhoodupdate.net and coloradosprings.gov/police-department are useful platforms for staying abreast of police activity in the wider area. 

“One of the things that we forget is that we live in a day of technology,” Trujillo said. “Our guardian app, our website, our dispatch — these are all things we want to be thoughtful of, and information that we want to share within the community.” 

Above all, Campus Safety asks students to keep an eye out for each other, and the community at large. 

“Look at the circumstances and behaviors you are observing,” Buckley said. “If they don’t fit in with what we know to be our community, that’s when it’s time to call.”

In the meantime, students can review the annual safety report, resting assured that they have a team of dedicated safety officers just a stone’s throw away at the Campus Safety Office, located at 219 E. Uintah. Campus Safety can also be reached at campussafety@coloradocollege.edu or (719) 389-6707. 

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