College campus crime is on the way up, but UTPD is working to keep Rocky Top safe.
Crimes on college campuses increased by 4.2 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. UTPD is taking steps to help decrease that statistic by educating the student body on campus and personal safety. Tonight from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Clement Hall residents have the opportunity to hear the monthly safety blitz from UTPD.
"Blitzes are monthly proactive safety information programs that we have conducted since the fall 2011 semester," Sergeant Donnie Ross of UTPD's community relations unit said. "We typically target areas in the Fort Sanders neighborhood that have a high concentration of UT student residents."
Ross said that UTPD received positive responses about safety outreach programs.
"We will go door to door and speak with residents about general safety tips, area crime trends and answer any specific questions that they may have," he said. "This has been received very well in the past from the residents and we have made some positive contacts through these programs."
Ross hopes that through a collaborative effort between UTPD, KPD and UT, students will be more educated about safety issues and how to protect themselves.
"We usually have representatives from our department, many departments of Student Life and the Knoxville Police Department. We hope the students gain an understanding about their personal safety and are able to clarify any questions they may have of us," said Ross.
Michael Miceli, a sophomore in linguistics, doesn't feel the blitz would be useful.
"I honestly believe that anything UTPD would have to say I have heard a dozen times before or is common sense," Miceli said.
Miceli, a former resident of Clement Hall, also said that despite a few disturbances, he felt safe in the area surrounding Clement.
"I feel safe around the entire campus, night or day," he said. "This applies to my time in Clement Hall, despite having to report a violent disturbance where a drunkard was throwing glass bottles ... and another incident where my bike was vandalized."
Miceli attributes his feelings of safety to growing up near a large metropolitan area and with a father who worked in emergency management. He learned how to respond to such disturbances from a young age.
Katherine Cahill, a junior in English, said that she would be interested in the blitz, but would only attend if new information were being presented.
"I think it depends on whether the talk will provide any new information. If they're telling us to run if we see an attacker, that's obviously not something I don't already know to do," she said. "If they're giving us new safety ideas, current statistics on Fort and Knoxville safety, self-defense idea and techniques ... then I think such a talk would be very useful to residents. I would go to talk like that."
UTPD encourages residents to secure their housing and vehicles and avoid allowing strangers into one's home. They also advise keeping valuables out of sight, avoiding walking alone at night and staying in well-lit areas, using the "T" for transportation and reporting suspicious behavior to authorities.