By Marc Ramsingh
With the recent news of shootings on other college campuses, such as Michigan State University and The University of Virginia, it’s hard to imagine acts of this nature occurring so close to home. With rising reports of crime around both U of L’s campus and Louisville, it’s worth a dive to analyze.
The Annual Reports
The University of Louisville is by law required to produce an “ANNUAL SECURITY & FIRE SAFETY REPORT” for each academic year experienced on the Belknap campus (which includes property on-campus, on-campus student housing, and non-campus property). Below are the number of crimes reported for the 2021-2022 academic year:
Rape/Fondling/Statutory Rape: 23
Robbery/Aggravated Assult/Burglary: 46
Motor Vehicle Theft: 22
Domestic Violence/Dating Violence/Stalking: 36
Arrest for Carrying/Possessing a Weapon: 1
In addition to reporting this, U of L’s Belknap campus has seen an increase in Rave Alerts (which are sent to students and staff detailing ongoing security or safety concerns), up to 1-2 times per week since the start of the 2023 spring semester.
These alerts range from stolen vehicles to an on-campus robbery; Rave Alerts also include university weather alerts and delays, with the most recent of those happening on January 31st.
What is The University of Louisville doing to protect us? Are we safe?
What’s alarming is that we’ve seen an alert roughly every week, especially since they err on the side of more serious incidents.
What is good to see is that the system does appear to work. The university provides a variety of services and tools to help protect students on and around campus. A lot of resources the university provides for physical safety flow down to the eventual contact of the University of Louisville Police Department (ULPD).
Within the University Housing & Resident Experience (or UHRE), we have Resident Assistants (RA’s) who are equipped to handle domestic and smaller scale issues among residents; RA’s are trained to “call up” and get ULPD or EMS involved if the situation demands it.
In addition, the University provides a variety of training for students and staff by professionals in the field and current ULPD officers. These trainings comprise a variety of valuable scenarios, including rape aggression defense, active shooter drills, crime prevention, community policing, victim assistance programming, and rape awareness, education, and prevention. Jeremy Briley, head instructor of the U of L Kempo Karate Club, emphasized that his club focuses entirely on self-defense. They meet from 7 to 9 P.M. in the SRC on Mondays and Thursdays.
Next, we have The L-Trail– this is the path that spans across the Belknap campus and is constantly patrolled by ULPD and is lit up at night. The L-trail is the most frequented safety feature by students and staff due to its 24-7 use day and night.
The Cardinal Cruiser is a feature established to assist students to get from one place to another on and around campus. The Cardinal Cruiser can be contacted via (502) 852-6111 and operates from dawn to dusk.
A few of my final thoughts
To answer the question: yes, we are safe on campus. I’m cautiously optimistic about ULPD’s capability to handle a complex situation such as a mass shooting, but day-to-day, ULPD is great and does its best to keep our campus safe and secure by connecting to our campus community.
In specialty situations as an RA, I’ve seen ULPD respond fast and handle a situation as best they could. However, I’ve seen ULPD on rare occasions not respond in time, leaving a situation to escalate beyond an RA’s capabilities.
As a student and current RA on campus, I’ve observed ULPD more than the average student would– I’ve seen the best and worst of ULPD through the various incidents my RA duties have demanded.