Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Jeremy Papasso / Daily Camera
CU safety information: police.colorado.edu/crime-prevention-and-safety
CU police dispatch: 303-492-6666
CU NightRide: 303-492-SAFE (7233)
Boulder police safety information: bouldercolorado.gov/police/crime-prevention
Lone students are the ones most likely to find themselves in dangerous situations. That’s why the No. 1 tip from law enforcement officials is to avoid being alone.
“Practice the buddy system,” said University of Colorado police Sgt. Michael Lowry.
Finding a friend to walk with, especially at night, is an effective way to deter an assault, sexual assault and other such attacks.
The buddy system is even more valuable when alcohol consumption is involved.
“When people drink to excess they increase their odds of victimization,” Lowry said. “Their decision-making skills deteriorate, and the choices they make are very impacted.”
Lowry said it’s not unusual for officers on patrol to find students too inebriated to care for themselves. Those students are taken to the Addiction Recovery Center to make sure they stay safe and warm while they sober up.
Lowry said the weather presents an additional hazard to students who are out drinking. He recalled a person several years ago who ended up passed out partially in a creek on a brutally cold night.
The CU NightRide, which is free for CU students (as well as staff and faculty), can be a useful transportation alternative. It’s meant to a provide safe and socially responsible way to get around Boulder. The number is 303-492-SAFE (7233).
Lowry also advises students to lock up. They should lock dorm rooms, even when they’re away for only a minute or so, and they should be wary of “tailgaters” — people following them into locked residential buildings when those people don’t belong there. Mom and dad might have taught you to be polite and hold the door, but don’t let a would-be thief exploit your good nature.
“It’s OK to say no,” Lowry said. “If you’re uncomfortable, say, ‘No.'”
He doesn’t want his safety concerns to give a false impression of the city.
“Boulder, relatively speaking, is a very safe place. I can’t stress that enough,” he said. “What we want to do is make it safer.”
Boulder police Sgt. Robyn VanDerLeest, who works with the neighborhood-impact team that patrols University Hill and the downtown area, echoed the advice about going out with friends and moderating drinking.
VanDerLeest said students should leave parties in groups and walk along lighted streets, like Broadway, when they go between the Hill and downtown.
Excessive drinking can land students in trouble with the law, as well as put them at risk for accidents and crime.
“When the students come back, we see an increase in calls about noise and parties,” she said. “As a result of kids getting together and drinking, we see an increase in assaults and fights at the end of the night.”
Students can register parties at Off-Campus Housing in room 313 of the University Memorial Center and get a warning of the first noise complaint, giving students a chance to turn down the party before a ticket is issued.
“Party registration is a great opportunity to take responsibility for their parties,” VanDerLeest said. “They pledge to only serve alcohol to 21 and over, and they get a head’s up.”