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Quantifying security: Students say they feel safe on campus, despite thefts

Sixty-two percent of undergraduates feel "very safe" at the University, though 24 percent said they have been victims of theft, according to a recent Daily Princetonian survey of 758 students.

Despite the relatively large percentage of students who say they have been robbed on campus, Public Safety Crime Prevention Specialist Barry Weiser said the 1999-2000 academic year crime statistics are in line with the previous year's numbers.

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"I think [the crime rates are] very similar to last year," Weiser said. "I can't say that the statistics are down — everything is pretty much across-the-board the same, though we may have gone up a little bit in thefts."

Weiser said the thefts primarily involved student negligence and not forced entry. "We were busy with bikes and laptops, which are the most valuable assets that are lost by students," he said, adding that students should take extra precaution with their valuable possessions.

Of those students who reported in the survey that they lock their doors, 23 percent said they still do not feel their rooms are completely secure. Of the 58 burglaries reported on campus this year, 18 occurred in rooms that had locked doors, Weiser said. Most first-floor rooms in University dorms do not have screens on their windows, enabling persons to enter the rooms easily from the outside, he added.

Alcohol violations

Aside from thefts, Public Safety is required to monitor alcohol violations and refer student violators to the Dean of Student Life office for possible discipline. This year, 133 individuals were referred for possible discipline, according to Weiser.

He added that he believes fewer alcohol-related incidents occurred this year. "I think alcohol [incidents are] down," he said. "Last year we had a terrible September. This year it wasn't as bad."

During the summer, each Public Safety vehicle will be equipped with a portable defibrillator — a medical device used during cardiac arrest. Weiser said 42 Public Safety officers have been trained to use the six new defibrillators, which cost the department $18,000.

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Weiser said increased communication with students will be one of Public Safety's main goals in the upcoming academic year. "I'd like to do some interaction with proctors and students," he said. "Several proctors have volunteered to talk with students this fall," he said, adding that with student cooperation "we can cut down on petty thefts."

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