Many people associate college towns with elevated crime rates. However, Keene State College has considerably less crime reported than Plymouth State University, the University of New Hampshire and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
When comparing these four selected colleges crime statistics against each other, UMass-Amherst surpassed the rest of the colleges with arrests.
The university has a population of around 22,000 undergraduate students, which resulted in 396 arrests for on-campus liquor law arrests according to the 2011 “University of Massachusetts Amherst Crime Statistics.”
However, when comparing Keene State College and Plymouth State University, both similar in size, Plymouth State University outweighed Keene State College by 67 on-campus liquor law violations according to Keene State College’s 2011 report and Plymouth State University’s 2010 report, leaving UNH with a hefty 339 on-campus liquor law arrests in its 2010 report.
Unlike the three other schools, KSC is the only one that offers a college liaison officer, which could also contribute to its lower crime rate.
Another KPD service for the college students in the area is Officer Katie Corbett’s idea called the “Responsible Party Notification Form.”
The form allows students to register their party online to let the Keene Police Department know about their party.
Not only does this help out KPD but it also helps the citizens of Keene save time due to the fact that all the information is already logged online for the police station’s access and quick action in case the party reaches violation point.
“I thought it was a good idea, which can benefit both myself and the students. Before you would have to call to register a party, and now you just register it online. Last year was the first run and a lot of students thought it was a good idea,” Corbett stated.
Greek Life has also taken up the party notification form as an option when a fraternity or sorority chooses to host a party. Alex Brown, the coordinator of Greek Life and Student Leadership, said the “fraternities and sororities are very comfortable with KPD.”
Brown explained that a previous liaison officer really made an impact by “practicing how to be proactive not just in the college but also in the city of Keene.”
Brown also stressed the importance of how Greek Life is when it comes to having a good and comfortable relationship with both the KPD and Campus Safety.
Officer Corbett also noted some things about the Greek Life and when it comes to the party notification form, “Some of the frat[ernities] have used the form.”
Corbett said that every party they have they make sure to get in contact with her and “they never usually have any problems.”
According to Corbett, that is because most of the members are very responsible and well connected when it comes to housing their parties.
When asking Corbett what was the most popular complaint that the citizens of Keene report to the police, she said it would be “noise disturbances.”
The City of Keene Code of Ordinances Section 66-124 “Specific Prohibitions” prohibits “Between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. engaging in or permitting noise including, but not limited to the operation, playing, or using of any audio equipment, sound amplifier or other device which reproduces or amplifies sound.”
Corbett said, “A good example for this type of violation could be an off-campus party.” She explained that when a party is starting to become too rowdy she would drive by the house a couple of times “to check up.”
When a party starts to become a disturbance Corbett’s next move would be to call the owner of the house who previously registered the party to let them know to quiet down.
Another way would be by arriving at the house and letting the owner know to quiet down the party before it becomes a problem.
Like Keene, Plymouth also mentioned the importance and popularity of the noise complaints that they received by stating on their police department’s website, “Even though Plymouth is a college town, there are many local residents who live in the area along with you. Most are great neighbors who appreciate the presence of the University. Many of them have large levels of tolerance and never call in any complaints. But many are parents, or young school children, or senior citizens who have other needs, like work the next morning, or school. Simply put, they must value quiet time differently than you, especially during the late night hours.”
Plymouth State University issued an online article on their website on Sept. 10, 2010, by Investigator Jennifer Frank about noise complaints and how the police department deals with them.
“Occasionally warnings will be issued,” she noted.
The police department does spend time on routine patrol, and if officers notice any noise related problems before a complaint is called in, they can (and many times do) stop and visit with residents to give them a proactive warning … To avoid complaints it is best to get to know your neighbors, perhaps even giving them your phone number so that in case of a noise issue you may be contacted rather than the Police,” Frank wrote.
Amherst and Durham town police were unable to comment over the phone on what their departments have created as an addition to helping the safety of their citizens due to college crimes.
Angela Scionti can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org