This past Halloween weekend, Glassboro residents and Rowan students were alerted about violent incidents that occurred near campus, with stabbings and gunshots reported.
There was a reported stabbing at Oakwood and Whitney Avenues late Friday, Oct. 27. There was also a shooting at the 300 block of North Main Street around 1:45 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 29, which resulted in one person taking a bullet to the foot. In response to these devastating events, the Glassboro Police Department posted a news release to social media on Nov. 1.
“We [the Glassboro Police Department] want the Glassboro community to know that your safety is of the utmost importance to the Borough of Glassboro and the Glassboro Police Department,” said in the statement. “Although there have been several serious incidents in such a short time frame, we have been working diligently to ensure all those who work, live, and visit Glassboro can do so without questioning your safety.”
To guarantee the safety of those living in Glassboro, the Glassboro Police Department has a set system in place to hold students to a certain standard. These procedures are not new but were discussed in the news release posted recently. They include the re-establishment of the Community Response Unit (CRU), which dedicates itself to educating and enforcing students through addressing “Quality of Life” problems such as immoral conduct, parking violations, and noise complaints, educating party hosts on the dangers of advertising on social media, and hiring more full-time officers to cover the streets.
Another major aspect of the Glassboro Police Department’s efforts is deploying “Party Patrols,” which are groups of officers who patrol every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night to deal with these quality-of-life issues. Along with shutting down Rowan Boulevard on those same nights to thru traffic to prevent large crowds from forming, the Glassboro Police are working overtime to limit the number of chaotic incidents from occurring on the weekends.
“Safety is a priority and should never be taken lightly; it is our duty and responsibility to help ensure all those who live, work, and visit Glassboro can do so without worrying about having to look over their shoulder. It is important for us to continue doing what we have set in place to show the local community as well as the educational community that we are doing everything within our power to provide a safe environment for all,” said Deputy Chief of the Glassboro Police Department Ryan Knight.
Michael Kantner, assistant vice president and emergency management coordinator for the Department of Public Safety, says while the events that transpired over the weekend are deeply disturbing, they do not reflect on Rowan as a whole. He points out that the university has been in a collaborative effort with the Glassboro Police to make sure students feel comfortable and safe when they are both on campus and in the surrounding area.
“We [Rowan] are very, very serious about trying to make sure that our students are protected, our students are safe, and that our students are educated in what is going on in the world and to take precautions,” said Kantner.
The response to these “Party Patrol” initiatives amongst students has been mixed. Some, like student Erin Doyle, believe the increased presence of police officers in and around campus is a step in a positive direction.
“Whenever I see the police walking around or just on campus, I always feel very safe because if something were to happen they are there to do their job,” said Doyle. “If police weren’t here to enforce the law, society would deteriorate as we know it, and chaos would most likely ensue.”
However, many students think the added police presence is stressful, as they find it adds more unnecessary tension on campus.
“Honestly, I haven’t really noticed but now that I know, it does make me feel a little worried, like to think there’s something going on in the area,” said student Samantha Guia.
Despite what students may feel given these circumstances, Kantner wants to make it clear that Rowan is doing all it can to make sure the university is as safe as it can possibly be, and that can’t happen if students don’t cooperate with these new policies. While it’s a given some students still won’t comply, even with these practices in place, the Glassboro Police continues to work with the university to regulate these behaviors and prevent them from getting out of control. These initiatives put in place by the Glassboro Police Department, Kantner stated, work not only to keep Glassboro a respectable town but also to promote the highest standards of living for all people who reside in Glassboro, not just its student population.
“There are certain things in life that people need to make adjustments on, especially when people’s safety could be jeopardized. Safety is paramount and you have to outweigh what’s more important: safety or a good time,” said Kantner. “To me, safety is a priority and it should be everybody’s priority.”
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