By Kimberly Olivera
In the past three years, Barton has had its share of on-campus crime. However George Solan, vice president of student affairs, said that statistically speaking, Barton has very low crime in comparison with other schools.
“I’ve worked at a number of institutions of higher learning and Barton is by far one of the safest institutions I’ve worked at,” said Solan.
In 2013 and 2014, statistics show that of on-campus crime, there have been two forced sex offenses. In 2013 there were five burglaries in 2013 and a motor vehicle theft in 2014.
Solan said he and the campus police are constantly evaluating security and finding ways to make students feel safer. He said once a month, Wilson police and Solan walk with students around campus.
He said they look for safety and security measures that can be improved, including lighting. He said the on-campus police officers have educational programs in the residence hall that residents and commuters can attend.
Solan said that unfortunately attendance is usually low until something bad happens on campus.
There are six call boxes on the Barton campus located in the main entrance, Harper Hall, Hackney Library, Waters Hall, Moye/Science Hall and Bully’s Campus Grill.
Call boxes are used to report a crime or any other type of emergency and usually have a blue light. Solan said Barton College also issues campus alerts through email messages to provide the community with important information to keep everyone updated.
Solan said the college has a responsibility toward the students to keep them safe. Once Barton knows about any sexual harassment, sexual violence, or crime, the college has to immediately investigate the situation.
Solan said he wanted to emphasize to students that safety and security is everyone’s concern. He said that the Wilson police have taken a lot of initiative and that students should always remember to stay safe.
“The better you are taking care of yourself, the better the community is with safety,” said Solan.
Police officer Sergeant Steven Stroud said that there are two major parts of keeping Barton campus more secure. The first is enforcement and it involves traffic stops, warrant services, and talking to non-Barton students as well as charging them with trespassing if they return.
It is also involves patrolling campus and the surrounding area along with three officers. Stroud said they have a list of people who have committed crimes in the past.
The second part of keeping Barton campus secure is the proactive side. This involves crime prevention. Officers keep a daily log of activity and let each other know if there are any problems or things amiss on campus.
They also report and investigate any serious problem brought to them by a student and make the appropriate charges.
Stroud said in November there will be a campus wide event about date rape.
Tara Williams, senior health promotions major, said in question of campus safety, she’s noted the difference between the past couple of years and this year with no- Barton students being on campus. There are less non-Barton members walking into campus this year. It’s an improvement, she said.
“Generally during the day I feel safer than at night,” said Williams.
Williams said she doesn’t feel safe walking around at night on campus or to her car. She said she thinks that when the school is on holiday breaks, more security should check in on the college because most rooms are broken into during breaks when everyone is away.
“Our stuff is still here so it should still be watched,” said Williams.
Senior Lorraine Chon-Qui, sports management major and public relations minor, said she finds no problem walking around campus in the day because there’s always people around. However, Chon-Qui said she lives off campus and tries to leave before it gets dark.
“They should have one patrol on the corner of campus for students who stay out late, in the library for example, and then have to walk back to their rooms at night,” said Chon-Qui.
Stroud said, “The Wilson Police Department is working with Barton College staff and students to make campus the safest in the state. We encourage students to use good crime prevention strategies, report crimes, and report suspicious persons/activities to law enforcement.
“Safety is a partnership between the campus community and the police. Working together, we can achieve this goal of ensuring a safe and productive educational environment.”