There may be fewer students on the University of Colorado campus during the summer, but the months between spring and fall semesters have become some of the busiest for the university’s police department.
CU Police Cmdr. Tim McGraw said as summer classes become more popular, the responsibilities of campus officers are also increasing. With summer enrollment growing annually, CU police are faced with splitting their time between training, patrols and event planning, he said.
“Twenty years ago was slower in the summer here,” McGraw said. “But with the addition of Maymester and the popularity of summer school increasing, it just seems busier.”
Training becomes a priority in the summer when officers are fielding fewer calls. But as more and more students stick around campus for summer classes, police are squeezing in training between increasing activity on campus.
Event planning will take up some extra time this summer as CU enters the Pac-12 Conference, changing a few game-day strategies.
Campus police and university officials will consider the usual crowd concerns during upcoming home games, but an unusual Friday night home game against the University of Southern California on Nov. 4 requires more preparation, McGraw said.
“A Friday night game is considerably different from the Saturday games -with work and school in session,” McGraw said. “Adequate street coverage will be a big concern.”
The good news for students is that bike thefts – which reached an all-time high last school year – are down during the summer, McGraw said.
“The quantity of bikes on campus is just lower,” he said. “Also, a thief stands out more and there’s more potential for them to be noticed with fewer students on campus.”
While CU police are seeing a decrease in criminal activity on campus, city police are switching gears during the summer.
Boulder Police Cmdr. Curt Johnson said University Hill and other areas near campus remain active throughout the summer, despite fewer students.
“There are less parties and fewer young people out drinking,” Johnson said. “But we get more noise complaints later in the evening because people are staying outside longer, when the weather permits it.”
Overall, Johnson said activity on the Hill does slow in the summer, but patrols remain consistent throughout the year.
CU student Erica Bolline, who will be a senior in the fall, said she is always cautious as a female walking alone at night no matter what time of the year it is – but summers are a little less comfortable, she said.
“There are definitely less people around,” Bolline said. “I was studying late in the library one night and there weren’t more then 10 other people in the building.”
Bolline said she feels safe on campus most of the time, but is a little more aware when there’s no one around.
CU student Christina Huntoon, who will be a senior this fall, said she is also more careful during the summer when there are fewer people on campus.
“There’s no one around if something happens,” Huntoon said.
But there’s always a reason to be cautious, she said. There might be fewer people around in the summer, but there’s a better chance of having your stuff stolen or not noticing someone suspicious on campus when there are thousands of students around.
“I think whether school is in session or not, crowded or not, it is important to be careful about personal safety,” Johnson said.