By Madison Hildebrand
Compared to other public four-year institutions in Colorado, Colorado State University- Pueblo is among the safest campuses in the state due to its smaller student body and diligence of the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the 2016 Clery Report data comparing CSU-Pueblo’s crime statistics with those of Colorado State University- Fort Collins, the University of Colorado- Boulder, and the University of Colorado- Colorado Springs, students and staff at other schools are about twice as likely to be the victim of robbery, burglary, violent offenses or motor vehicle theft.
The Clery Report is a crime summary that mandates all public educational institutions to compile and publish statistics annually, and CSU-Pueblo’s report is available within the Campus Safety section of the university website. As of Sept. 29, however, the 2017 Clery Report has not been made available either online or in the physical Sheriff’s Office, located on the bottom floor of the administration building.
Regardless of the university’s relatively safe statistics, the campus is not completely crime-free. “Theft from autos is our biggest concern,” said Deputy Luke Pedraza. “We don’t really have crimes against people, it’s more against property.” However, Pedraza is confident that the problem can be easily eliminated by locking car doors and refraining from leaving valuables inside.
Motor vehicle crime is primarily concentrated in the North 8 parking lot near the Greenhorn Residence Hall, so students utilizing that lot should take extra precaution.
Much of the auto-related crime is attributed to a single individual. Recently, a car was stolen from Pueblo Community College and recovered at CSU-Pueblo in the aforementioned North 8 parking lot. The culprit, identified as Daniel Lowell, frequently lurks around the university posing as a student.
According to Pedraza, “He wears a backpack, so he looks like any other student, and he shows up in a different vehicle every time. He is potentially on campus at any time of day; we can’t pinpoint a specific time that he comes.” If you happen to spot Lowell, immediately call 911 or the campus Sheriff’s Office at (719) 583-6250.
The duties of the campus extension of the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office vary widely, but since the university is so safe, deputies primarily respond to calls from students and faculty who have locked themselves out of their cars of offices. They also constantly patrol the campus. “We drive around not to catch students doing something bad, but to deter criminals,” said Pedraza.
CSU-Pueblo has safeguards in place to alert campus members of the apparently unlikely event of a crime. All students and staff should sign up for the CSU-Pueblo ALERT emergency text messaging system within the “Emergency Text” tab in PAWS to receive important information in real time.
If you are ever the victim of any sort of crime on campus, immediately call 911 or (719) 583-6250, don’t touch anything to avoid DNA contamination, and wait for a deputy to arrive. “We respond really fast,” said Pedraza. “Be patient, but not too patient.”