The 2016 annual crime and fire report showed that in the past three years, campus crimes have been dropping.
Crime has been decreasing as the police force has grown larger in the past few years. Currently, there are more polices on campus than there are in the town of Elon.
Since 2014, there have been no reports of aggravated assault and a 55 percent decrease in liquor law violations. Franks claims that because there have been more interactions between students and officers, there is less crime.
“It’s all about partnership. No successful police department is standoff-ish in their community,” said Dennis Franks, director of Campus Safety and Police. By joining in with students and faculty at College Coffee, attending floor meetings in residence halls and hosting Coffee with a Cop, campus police have found more ways to get involved with the students.
Campus police said the most crime they see is liquor law violations. But students such as Elon University freshman Adam Behrman said the police are always there to help.
“I have always seen police cars around at unsafe times,” Behrman said. “I’ve seen the blue lights everywhere on campus. I’ve never felt like I’m in a situation where I could be harmed and not have help.”
Officer Cory Ray, who has been with the Campus police since 1996, watched the police force grow.
Ray agrees that a more personable police caused the decrease in students violating the law. As the school has developed, crime has not increased.
Franks pushes his officers to be more active on campus, talking to students and not just patrolling in cars. He likes to see his police force on bikes and on foot.
“It’s those one-on-one conversations you remember versus, ‘I saw the police drive by with the window rolled up,’” Franks said. “It’s about, ‘I saw the officer stop and say, hey, how are things going today.’ That is more impactful. I think it helps people realize the police are just people, too, and that it’s a partnership. We have to work together to keep our community safe.”
Franks said with more officers participating in community events, he has seen the crime rate drop. He believes this involvement is the most important part in reducing crime in a community.
Freshman Abby Shutzberg said, “There is always a number I can call so I feel safe. It makes me feel better about going places alone. Campus police is always apparent, very present, easily accessible and involved in student life.”
Traditionally, parents and students have felt safe on Elon’s campus.
“I’ve never felt threated or unsafe on this campus. Even when we came on campus a year ago I felt safe, and the fact that campus is even safer is reassuring,” said sophomore Nicole Kister.
Mike and Pam Bruno, parents of freshman William Bruno, felt that even amidst the crisis going on in the world, their son is safe at Elon.
“I think people feel less safe now because of what is going on the world,” Pam Bruno said. “With people in big places, [parents] may tend to feel frightened by it. Terrorist threats and crazy kids doing random acts of violence.”
“With all of the safeguards Elon provides, the safety factor doesn’t even enter my mind,” Bruno said.
Campus police are present to do more than just policing. Programs such as Operation ID represent campus police as a force that is one with the community and students.
“Our objective is to create and maintain a safe environment for students, employees and visitors,” Franks said. “We focus on talking to the community and being a part in the community. Without the community, we are not successful.”