A rash of early-semester crime including rape, armed-robbery and an allegedly armed man driving around campus has prompted some community members to be alarmed, but UNC-Greensboro Police say it is not out of the ordinary.
One of the more recent alerts was about a man named Aaron Yun Ho Horsley who allegedly brandished a weapon on campus. Between these recent notifications and the UNCG Police Crime Log showing 27 reported burglaries since classes started, it may seem to students that crime rates are increasing more than normal.
According to UNCG’s Assistant Chief of Police Major Paul Lester, crime rates tend to increase toward the beginning of the year; therefore, crime rates are higher right now than they were before summer started.
Lester believes that the higher temperatures cause a slight boost in crime rates every year. A worldwide study conducted by The New York Times in 2013 titled “Weather and Violence” supports his theory. According to the study, there could be a direct correlation between crime and extreme heat and rainfall worldwide.
The UNCG Police Department is using a couple of measures to prevent crime on campus. One potentially significant effort is the implementation of the “LiveSafe” app. One of the app’s notable features is the ability to allow friends or family to virtually walk a student or faculty member home.
According to the “LiveSafe” website, a student can connect his or her phone to another person with the app and that person can see a GPS location of where the student is and even text with the student on the way. According to Lester, well over 1,000 students have used “SafeWalk” since the LiveSafe app was first introduced.
Lester gave an example of a foreign exchange student from India whose parents were concerned about her safety, saying that they downloaded the app in India and can virtually walk her home if she wants them to.
According to the LiveSafe website, the app also allows students to ask the police for a walking escort and gives students a safety map, which shows where the nearest police stations, hospitals, gas stations and firehouses are.
In addition, Lester says LiveSafe lets students call or text police to report a crime. He says that, with the app students, can text police anonymously, which gives the police a chance to question the anonymous person further while still allowing the person to remain unidentified.
Along with LiveSafe, UNCG Police have implemented other methods for preventing crime on campus. Lester says that one of the simplest things police do is make themselves seen by patrolling the campus.
He says he wants to “let the community know that we’re reaching out.”
Lester says that UNCG Police also try to get involved by doing things such as speaking at freshman SOAR and going to other student events. The UNCG Police also have programs, such as R.A.D (Rape Aggression Defense) and active shooter training, to teach students and faculty how to defend themselves if ever put in a dangerous situation.
In the case of Aaron Yun Ho Horsley, Lester says that UNCG Police are working with Greensboro Police to apprehend him. Lester suggests students should still be on the lookout and pay attention to updates but that he doesn’t think Horsley is a threat to students right now because he thinks it is unlikely Horsley will come back to campus.