Do Keene State students feel safe moving around on and off-campus? A couple of recent incidents with Keene residents and in the downtown area have made the The Equinox ponder how an open campus impacts students and if they feel secure living in this environment. While Keene may not be the most crime-ridden place in the United States, there are still events that stir up unease in students, particularly when they are on campus.
The first incident that was worrisome to students living off-campus was an armed robbery that occurred on Tuesday, February 11, at the downtown store Synergy. While the weapon wasn’t used, it made students living in houses and apartments in the college area anxious about potential robberies.
Additionally, on Monday, February 17, a man was charged with assault after hitting a woman in the abdomen in the Mason Library. Neither of the people involved were Keene State students; they were residents of Keene and the surrounding towns.
The Equinox believes that this incident with the library is a unique incident that most likely will not happen again anytime soon, especially given the fact that it was non-Keene State students. It is concerning, however, that crimes like this and the break-in seem to be piling up and it may signify that Keene is changing a bit, as all towns do. We understand that the blue lights are to help students feel safe, but in an actual crisis situation campus safety may not be able to arrive in time.
It is also worrisome for students who may be moving off-campus who will no longer have the benefit of a campus safety or blue lights. For these students in particular, The Equinox stresses never walking alone at night. If you do, let somebody know where you’re coming from and where you’re heading to.
Improved lighting is also a major aspect in allowing students to feel safe. Appian Way may be well lit, but the farther you get from that center of campus, the worse the lighting gets.
One spot in particular that could benefit from better lighting is the stretch from the tennis courts to Winchester lot. We also feel that Keene as a whole could be lit a lot better. Besides Main Street, there are many sketchy alleys and dark streets that could definitely have improved lighting.
While we feel safe walking around campus and the city during the day, the walk at night can have a much different feeling for students.