Home is supposed to be a place where you feel safe, right? The residence halls at Keene State College act as that temporary home for students attending the college.

According to the informal survey, 85 percent of individuals associated with the college feel safe on school grounds. This is no doubt in part due to the presence of KSC Campus safety, which has a roughly 80 percent approval rating.

However, according to the KSC CLERY report, a federal overview of criminal and emergency information and statistics on campus shows that the number of violent crimes on campus went up from 2013 to 2014. Depending on how the data is interoperated, the campus is either getting safer or more dangerous.

The report’s statistics could suggest that the campus has gotten less safe during the previous year. Last year, there were six reported rapes in dormitories and residence halls on campus. With only three in 2013, that number has doubled. Along with the sexual assaults in the residence halls, there were two arrests related to domestic violence charges. There were none in 2013.

George Amaru / Art Director

George Amaru / Art Director

Finally, there were two disciplinary referrals issued to individuals with prohibited weapons in on-campus residence halls. There was also one arrest made for possession of a weapon as well, but the incident was not in a residence hall.

However, the report does not clarify why the number of reported violent crimes has increased.

Associate Dean of Students Drake-Deese said that the statistics show that the school is improving in its efforts to combat these issues, but also recognized that that is probably not the only reason why the numbers have spiked.

Drake-Deese proposed off-campus behavior as part of the reason as well. “A lot of things happen off-campus and are brought onto campus afterwards,” Drake-Deese said.

Comparatively, Plymouth State University, another small New England school that has a similar student population as KSC, had three reported sex-related incidents in residence halls in 2013.

There was one arrest for an on-campus situation for aggravated assault at PSU in 2013.  KSC had two in residence halls, with another in a non-residential building.

There were no arrests for weapon possession at PSU in 2013.

Still Drake-Deese said that KSC is just as safe as most other schools. “I wouldn’t consider us to be particularly risky in the realm of college campuses,” Drake-Deese said.          

Resident directors, resident assistants and other individuals all around the KSC campus are trained on how to handle and help prevent incidents like sexual assault and other serious emergencies, but Drake-Deese said that all students have similar information in their student handbooks.

Drake-Deese said that no matter how you look at the statistics, the best way to keep the campus safe is to first educate students to do the right thing and make smart decisions, but the students have to be willing to learn as well.

“Everybody needs to exercise some personal discretion to keep themselves safe. Mostly relying on the institution or someone else to make you safe is probably not the best approach.”  Drake-Deese continued, “It’s kind of like locks on doors. The lock on the door only works if you lock it. If you choose not to lock it, it’s not terribly effective.”

Jacob Barret can be contatced at jbarrett@kscequinox.com

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