By Phillip Lentsch–
The numbers are in: seven assaults and two robberies were reported to the U of L Police in the fall 2015 semester. Five of these crimes occurred at off-campus housing sites, including Cardinal Towne, The Arch and The Clubhouse.
But the ULPD crime logs, made public by the Clery Act, only show part of the story. Because The Retreat and The Bellamy work primarily with Louisville Metro Police or outside security, residents find difficult to track crime reports.
Some off-campus housing options, such as The Retreat and The Bellamy, have opted out of ULPD coverage, which costs the properties over $35,000 a year.
In October, three U of L students at The Retreat were assaulted after waiting for their friends to pick them up. At around 12:30 a.m., one student said 10 to 20 people jumped the fence along the back part of The Retreat and attacked him and two friends. All three students had minor injuries. The Retreat did not comment on the incident.
“Particularly at the start of the year, we received notice of many safety concerns at The Retreat. It was mostly just parties that got out of control, but that’s expected with new off-campus housing,” said ULPD Assistant Chief of Police Kenny Brown. Calls ranged from noise complaints to assault.
The affiliate agreement between U of L Housing and ULPD has allowed for many of the university’s off-campus apartments to receive coverage from the school police. Sites such as The Province, Cardinal Towne, and recently The Clubhouse have partnered with ULPD in accordance to this agreement.
The Bellamy, despite being affiliated with U of L, instead pays for its own security, mainly reaching out to the LMPD.
“ULPD charges a flat rate of about $35,000 for its security, which I consider to be a good price,” said Craig Haughton, property manager at The Bellamy. “However, I’ve found that hiring my own LMPD security for The Bellamy ensures a much safer environment than university police. When criminals see an actual police officer in uniform, they tend to be less inclined to do something as opposed to when they see a ULPD officer.”
Regardless of whether a site is affiliated or not, crime prevention all about teamwork, according to ULPD Chief of Police Wayne Hall.
“Overall, it’s their right to be or not be protected by ULPD,” said Hall. “Although we don’t explicitly cover the property, ULPD stays on the perimeter of The Retreat at Davies Avenue, and we are available from The Province to address emergencies next door at The Bellamy.”
Brown said it has been a good year so far in regards to student safety. Rave alerts, which are sent out to alert the U of L community about eminent danger to campus, arrived in email inboxes 18 times since August 2015. One was for a robbery at Cardinal Towne, one was for a robbery at The Arch and two focused on an active shooter situation at JCC downtown. The remaining 14 alerts involved gas line issues and down phone lines.
“There wasn’t ever a time I felt unsafe,” said sophomore Jack Hagan, a resident at The Retreat. “The houses there all had great security systems and there were always LMPD officers on call. Other than non-residents taking up parking spaces on the weekends, I couldn’t complain.”