After a string of robberies around Central Campus this summer and newly established security measures, opinions differ on whether the University is adequately improving campus security.
Housing, Dining and Residence Life has taken measures over the summer to ensure students would return to a safer campus. Front doors and sliding doors of the Central Campus apartments have been equipped with automatic locks said Dean for Residential Life Joe Gonzalez. He added that the number of security guards has increased from previous years.
Still, some students have expressed concern.
"My perceived sense of safety has declined over the summer," sophomore Udit Agrawal said. "Late at night I don't feel as safe as I used to."
But senior Jacquie Schindler, a first-time Central resident, said the security additions have been helpful in alleviating students' worries.
“People were initially hesitant but I think that Duke understands that it’s an issue,” Schindler said. “I originally [was nervous] last year and for that reason I decided to live on the second floor…but [the University] has made a bunch of improvements.”
Another new resident, sophomore Elizabeth Buckley, echoed Schindler’s statements, adding that seeing the increased security measures has really lessened her concern.
Buckley also noted that she is comfortable walking around the campus at night, mentioning that she frequently walks to the gym after it is dark.
Still, the recent robberies are not the only point of distress for Central Campus residents. Last year, a robbery and an apartment break-in took place within a month of each other. The University did not increase campus security until after the summer robberies took place.
Tiffany Jang, a third-year law student, noted she no longer feels comfortable walking around by herself on campus.
"I definitely try to take van services more because I feel uneasy walking around after dark," Jang said.
Sophomore Flo Vanderschueren lived on Central Campus over the summer when the Duke Garden robberies took place. She said, although she was not afraid for herself, she worried for her friends' safety.
Senior Hannah Ward, a second-time resident of Central, said she has never felt unsafe living on Central and is surprised some residents do not feel safe.
“Now they’ve installed these new measures—the doors automatically lock and there are security guards everywhere,” Ward said. “If you [just moved] to Central Campus, you probably feel really safe because of these blatant measures.”
On top of additional apartment features, Gonzalez added that adjustments have been made to the surrounding area. Trees and shrubbery near apartment buildings have been cut to make clearer sight lines for students, and administrators are working on making lighting more consistent on the campus.
Gonzalez said he has not personally noticed any student anxiety about living on Central, but for those that do feel nervous, it will improve.
“Once [students] move onto Central and get a feel for the life of the campus, they usually start feeling better about being there,” Gonzalez said.