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Breaking down a year of DukeALERTs: DUPD maintains focus on Central Campus

Since last June, 10 DukeALERTs have been issued to members of the Duke community. John Dailey, chief of the Duke University Police Department, noted that examples of recent security improvements include significantly increasing security and police staffing and visibility, especially around Central Campus, replacing all door locks on Central Campus, adding Blue Light phones and implementing the LiveSafe app. He also noted that Duke continues to upgrade campus-wide outdoor lighting to LED lights.

Crime in 2016

Dailey noted that five sexual assaults were reported for criminal investigation in 2016. In each case, a suspect was identified.

“We continue to partner with different groups on campus to bring this number down,” Dailey wrote in an email.

He noted that the most common crime across all three campuses is theft, but that the number of thefts has decreased each year for the past eight years.

Additionally, one student was a victim of an on-campus robbery, but zero cases of aggravated assault were reported on campus in 2016. Dailey said eliminating crime at Duke is a matter of “convenience, openness and freedom.”

In a national health assessment survey conducted by the American College Health Association, the average student at Duke reported feeling less safe in the areas surrounding campus than the national average. 40.7 percent of Duke students said they felt “very safe” in the community near campus during daytime, compared to 51.8 percent of students nationwide. At nighttime, this figure decreased to 7.7 percent for Duke undergraduates, making it lower than the national average of 19.1 percent.

On the other hand, students at Duke tended to feel more safe on campus than students nationally. During the day, 95.2 percent of students said being on campus was a “very safe” experience, and at night, 40.7 percent of students felt this way. The national average for these figures was somewhat lower—86.5 percent and 36.6 percent, respectively.

Security improvements

Student concerns with security, especially on Central Campus, have risen in the wake of a number of thefts. Some students called for more security cameras to be installed on campus.

Dailey previously wrote that Duke has “significantly increased the number of cameras across campus recently” and that “over 800 [cameras] have been installed.” Larry Moneta, vice president of student affairs, confirmed that the cameras had only been installed on East Campus.

However, Dailey confirmed that more cameras will be installed in the upcoming year.

“We are working with Housing, Dining and Residence Life to begin camera installation in the West Campus residence halls,” Dailey wrote. “New cameras are approved by a camera oversight group that considers the balance between risk mitigation and privacy concerns.”

In April, Vice President for Administration Kyle Cavanaugh noted that an assessment of security cameras would be conducted during the summer, and that cameras in parking garages, as well as entries and exits of buildings had been implemented as part of a pilot program for such cameras.

In the coming years, especially as Central Campus is phased out, Dailey assured students that student safety on the campus remains a priority.

“Central Campus will continue to be an area of focus until students are no longer there,” Dailey wrote.

July 1, 2016

A common law robbery occurred at 10:30 a.m. in Parking Garage II.

August 28, 2016

An individual entered the room of a first-year female in Randolph residence hall at 4:00 a.m. The victim reported that the suspect attempted to get into bed with her, but that he left after she and her roommate screamed.

October 30, 2016

Gunshots were fired at 10:40 a.m. near the Al Buehler Trail and the Washington Duke Inn golf course. The suspect was reportedly riding in a burgundy-colored vehicle traveling north on U.S. 15-501.

November 2, 2016

An armed robbery occurred in the parking lot of 1911 Yearby Street. An individual making a food delivery was called in by the suspect. At about 10:15 p.m., the suspect, armed with a knife, attempted to rob the victim. The suspect was last seen running toward Anderson Street. The University later announced the suspect was arrested in connection to the incident.

November 30, 2016

A sexual assault occurred on Swift Avenue between Campus Drive and Duke University Road. At 10:10 a.m., the male suspect took the victim by the arm into the woods, brandished a knife and sexually assaulted her.

December 10, 2016

At 12:45 p.m., an armed robbery occurred in the Duke Gardens on Flowers Drive. The suspect was armed with a knife and taser. The suspect—who also had a warrant issued for the November 30 sexual assault—was later arrested.

January 17

A DukeALERT sent out at about 8:15 p.m. reported an armed robbery of two students on Markham Avenue between the BP Gas Station and the car wash.

February 21

At 12:30 a.m., a DukeALERT was sent regarding an armed robbery of two students on Swift Avenue near Main Street and the railroad tracks. The students did not report any injuries, but several of their personal items were taken, including cell phones. There were three suspects, including a suspect driving an older model dark sedan. The car was last seen turning onto Erwin Road.

April 8

A student was robbed at the Harris Teeter Shopping Center on Ninth Street at 11:35 p.m. The suspect implied that he had a weapon, although the victim did not report any injuries. The suspect fled on Hillsborough Road toward Markham Avenue.

May 16

A robbery occurred at 1:00 p.m. in Parking Garage II on Erwin Road. The victim reported that the suspect came up to him and asked for money. When the individual opened his wallet, the suspect took money from the wallet and fled. There were no weapons used, threats issued or injuries reported.

Kenrick Cai contributed reporting.


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