Their employees are often on patrol in campus buildings.
It’s all about visibility for University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Department of Public Safety. Campus police Chief Rick Gordon implemented a community-policing program a few years ago to deter crime.
“The more they see us, the more opportunistic people will go somewhere else,” he said. “The whole concept behind prevention is denying the opportunity.”
So far, Gordon’s plan has worked. For the second year in a row, StateUniversity.com ranked UM-Dearborn as the safest public university in Michigan.
The website, which provides information about colleges and universities, annually ranks the nation’s safest institutions based on crime statistics, like burglary, larceny and aggravated assault.
“Student safety and campus crime are sometimes overlooked during the college evaluation process,” said Dominik Mazur, founder of StateUniversity.com. “We believe it is important for students to be aware of crime on campus and in the surrounding community.”
Only two Michigan community colleges – Oakland Community College and Delta College – were ranked ahead of UM-Dearborn, in regard to campus safety, according to StateUniversity.com. The university also ranks 67th nationally.
“We are very proud of that,” Gordon said. “We’re lucky that we have a good campus community, too.”
Gordon credits his 22 officers for increasing the department’s visibility, thus decreasing crime.
“The community-policing model emphasizes being proactive, rather than reactive,” he said. “We try to give the impression of being everywhere all the time.”
No burglaries, aggravated assaults or motor vehicle thefts were reported in 2011 on campus, according to the department’s 2012-13 annual security report.
Gordon said his department also works closely with the City of Dearborn’s Police Department on investigations, and he notifies students, faculty and staff via email when officers detect an ongoing crime trend.