Lisa Iaccino didn’t know she’d be in danger walking from the door of Crusen’s on Farmington Road to a friend waiting in the parking lot to pick her up.
But when a man grabbed the small purse hanging from her wrist, pulled her towards his vehicle, and drove in reverse while hanging onto her, the senior nursing major said she was alarmed.
“I used to feel safe off-campus,” she said. “I didn’t think things like this would happen, but I haven’t gone out since then because I’m so scared.”
Off-campus safety hasn’t experienced a huge upswing, with only four robberies reported to university police since the beginning of 2008, according to the university police crime log.
But students should still be aware of their surroundings and take steps to increase their safety, University Police Chief Dave Baer said.
He said crimes committed off-campus aren’t prevalent, but they are crimes of opportunity, meaning the situations most off-campus crimes occur in are generally similar.
“[Off-campus crimes] tend to occur at night or in the wee hours of the morning,” Baer said. “They also often occur in a dark or dimly lit area and when an individual is alone.”
Baer also said off-campus crimes tend to occur in less-frequented areas.
And victims of off-campus crimes aren’t always students, Baer said.
A group of juveniles robbed a resident early Monday morning, he said.
“That’s an issue where it was around midnight in an alley. These are circumstances some individuals take advantage of,” Baer said.
And a non-student was the victim of an armed robbery in August on the 1800 block of Bradley Avenue, according to the crime log.
Junior nursing major Rachel Whitfield lives in the 1700 block of Fredonia Avenue. She said she feels fairly safe because of the precautions she and her roommates take.
“We keep all our windows locked and doors locked,” she said. “It’s the walking back to my house at night from the library or other places on campus that scare me, so I usually drive a lot if I have to go somewhere at night.”
Junior history major Danny Severance, who lives in the 1000 block of Underhill Street, said he hasn’t encountered any problems yet.
“The surrounding area of my house might be kind of bad and possibly dangerous, but as far as going between campus and my house, I’m never really worried,” he said.
The distinction between off- and on-campus is complicated, Baer said. Off-campus can describe buildings on property not controlled by the university.
University Police Office Manager Jocelyn Lewis said on-campus consists of university-owned buildings and the sidewalk in front of a specific building, the street, and the sidewalk on the other side of that building.
But BUPD still patrol a large part of what would typically be considered off campus.
Baer said the BUPD patrol area runs from Western Avenue to Moss Avenue and Sheridan Avenue to Columbia Terrace.