- Associated Press - Monday, November 9, 2015

CINCINNATI (AP) - The University of Cincinnati has begun surveying students, faculty and staff about their perceptions of crime on and near campus at a distinctive period in the university’s approach to law enforcement.

The goal of the survey and previous research is to shed light on perceptions of crime that may affect students’ overall experience, said Robin Engel, the university’s vice president for safety and reform.

Engel told The Cincinnati Enquirer (http://cin.ci/1GPuEov ) that the university wants to reduce fear of crime as much as crime itself.

“It’s just as disabling for people because when you are fearful you change your patterns and behaviors,” Engel said. “Now, some of that’s good because it makes you less likely to be a victim, but some of it is not good. It really limits your lifestyle.”

Crime has been of special focus at the campus since July 19, when University of Cincinnati police Officer Ray Tensing fatally shot Samuel DuBose, whom he pulled over for not having a front license plate.

Tensing has pleaded not guilty to murder and voluntary manslaughter. The university fired him soon after his indictment.

Since then, the school has pledged to make reforms in its policing and has restructured leadership for public safety, including hiring James Whalen, an assistant Cincinnati police chief, as director of public safety.

After off-campus patrols resumed, university officers were told to refrain from proactive traffic or pedestrian enforcement, The Enquirer reported.

An annual university crime and fire safety report actually finds many crimes on the rise on campus compared to a year ago, something the university attributes to increased enforcement.

“There’s simply more police officers here, and you’re going to see an uptick in activity,” Whalen said.

The campus saw increases in nine of the 18 crimes detailed in the university’s annual crime and fire safety report, including nearly seven times as many burglaries on the main campus.

Nevertheless, first-year student Keziah Lewis feels safe on campus. “I feel like I could leave my stuff somewhere in a public place on campus and come back for it later without any problems,” Lewis said.

Rachel Arlinghaus, a second-year student studying education, said students prefer to walk in groups when they go off campus at night.

“It is a college, and there’s always going to be some crime, but I feel pretty safe,” Arlinghaus said. “It’s not something we worry about when we get up in the morning. I think they do a good job of it here.”

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Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com

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