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Campus Safety: Siouxland Students Working To Stay Safe At School

It's back to campus life for many area college students. But after a string of burglaries at one Siouxland university, many of them are a little on edge, when it comes to the safety of student life.
College is an exciting time for college students everywhere. But as several are finding out, it's also a time to be cautious.

College students often represent the best and the brightest. But when it comes to campus safety, just how safe are students being?

"I honestly keep my dorm open most of the time, even when I'm gone. I just like the atmosphere it creates of trust," said Erin Van Horn, Northwestern College Junior and Assistant Resident Director.

Van Horn said she's pretty trusting, mostly because the school has strict safety measures in place.  Students have to swipe their student cards multiple times just to enter campus housing. And the dorms there have lock down hours so people can't just come in during the night.

But school officials say students need to always be aware of their surroundings.

"To maintain a degree of caution, to not put themselves in situations where they may feel vulnerable and may not know where to turn. So it's really important that they have good friends who look out for them, who accompany them, and are just mindful of their situations," said Julie Vermeer Elliott, Northwestern College Dean of Student Life.

After recent burglaries at Buena Vista University, staying alert is more important than ever.  And maybe more so at some campuses than others.

We looked at burglary reports from some Siouxland colleges for 2011 and 2012 and averaged the numbers we found for the two years.

Morningside reported 1.5 burglaries. Wayne State averaged 0.5.

Briar Cliff averaged 7.5 while the University of South Dakota averaged six.

Buena Vista averaged 5.5 while Northwestern had four on average.

Van Horn said she feels very safe at school but students shouldn't wait for a burglary to happen to make them all more aware.

"I think that it should increase awareness as far as, hey, are we being mindful of putting our stuff away, do we think about what we're doing when we're not in our dorm room, things like that," Van Horn said.

And making sure they understand that although it's great to feel safe on campus, to be aware crime can always happen.

"Things do happen. It's a college campus, so you've got to be smart wherever you are," Van Horn said.

If you want to check out the reports we used for the Siouxland college crime statistics, they're all available through the school's website.

The Morningside crime statistics are available here.

The Buena Vista crime statistics are available here.

The Briar Cliff crime statistics are available here.

The University of South Dakota crime statistics are available here.

The Northwestern crime statistics are available here.

The Wayne State crime statistics are available here.



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