Campus News News

How to keep your off-campus home safe in Springfield

By Collin Atwood
@collinatwood17

The feeling of serenity that the Springfield College campus gives its students and staff causes people to forget the possible danger that surrounds the college. In 2020, CBS News ranked Springfield at No. 34 for most dangerous cities in America. 

For most of the student population, this isn’t something they need to worry about because they live on campus. 

According to Springfield College’s main website, 13 percent of students don’t live on campus. This means they either commute from a parent or guradians house, or they live in a nearby off-campus apartment. 

Students that live off-campus in their own apartments are most likely living independently for the first time, so it is important to know the measures that should be taken to ensure everyone’s safety. 

When it comes to violent crimes, Sergeant Dan Cotter stated, “We don’t deal with a ton of it on campus or even in the surrounding area off campus.” Cotter has been with Springfield College for four years and spent the previous four at Western New England University. 

To prevent violent crimes from happening, Cotter suggests staying away from areas you are unfamiliar with during the night time. 

Property crimes are more likely than violent ones in the area. In 2018, Massachusetts had 200.8 cases of burglary and 1263.3 property crime cases per 100,000 residents, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report. 

Despite Springfield’s reputation of being a dangerous place to live, Sergeant Cotter believes that if the precautionary measures are taken, then you can make Springfield a great place to live. 

“Everybody thinks that it’s extremely dangerous, but really when push comes to shove it really depends on if you’re taking your own personal safety into account,” Cotter said. 

Although the numbers seem alarming, Springfield has been heading in the right direction. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, the number of property crimes have been steadily decreasing since 2004. 

People should still take precautionary actions and there are many that Sergeant Cotter would recommend taking to prevent anyone from breaking in. Being in touch with a landlord, installing security systems, locking windows and doors and keeping valuables in a safe space are the most known ways to protect one’s home. 

Cotter offers other ways to prevent a crime from happening. “It never hurts to be friendly with your neighbors,” Cotter said. The more you know your neighbors, the more likely it will be that they look out for you and your apartment.  

He also says that parties are a big reason that items get stolen. Before the breakout of COVID-19, party related crimes were more common. The main tip for managing theft at parties is to be aware of who is coming in and out of your house. 

“Your roommate invited five people, but then those people invite five more and that’s how parties get out of hand,” Cotter said. 

Even when someone takes all of the precautionary measures, it is still possible to have someone break in and steal a valuable item. In these cases, Sergeant Cotter says it’s important for students to have the serial number or models of their items. 

“Those are important and a lot of the time students won’t have their serial numbers… It always helps if the students can have as much information for us to protect ourselves beforehand.” Having the serial numbers helps the officers find what was stolen and keeps the burglar from successfully selling the item. 

The immediate area around Springfield College is not nearly as dangerous as the rest. The Campus Crime Statistic Report tells us that in 2019 there was only one case of a robbery and four cases of burglary at nearby properties that are not owned by Springfield College. “It doesn’t happen a lot…I’d say we’re good for it, unfortunately, a couple times a year.”

Crimes will happen, but if everyone takes the necessary precautionary measures, the chance of a student being victimized will surely decrease. 

Photo: TripSavvy

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