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Police chief: DU relatively quiet despite NOLA violent crime hike

Opinion divided among students about campus safety measures

By Chancie Bouton
On March 31, 2022

NEW ORLEANS (March 31, 2022) – Despite a sharp increase in crime in New Orleans, DU Police Chief Angela Honora reports a relatively quiet campus this academic year, with two fights and 25 reports of thefts.

Even so, Dillard University students are split on how safe they feel on- and off-campus.

According to the Metropolitan Crime Commission, as of March 20, New Orleans had already experienced 57 homicides, 90 carjackings, 105 shootings and 119 armed robberies. The year-to-date statistics indicated homicide rate is up by 43%; carjackings, up 43%; and armed robberies, up 20%.

Multiple shootings, many fatal, are reported by local media on a daily basis. One of the most shocking events hit close to home last week when a 73-year-old woman was fatally injured (and her arm severed in a Mid-City carjacking. Four juveniles – three of them female – were arrested, and the victim was a family member of a DU employee.

Even so, Honora said that on campus, only 27 incidents had been reported from August 2021 to March 22, with 93% of the incidents being reports of thefts. Since that interview, Honora sent out a notice Tuesday of a suspicious person taken in by campus police after several complaints, including one about disturbing a class. The person, identified in an email from the chief, has been banned from campus, she said.

The police chief has previously warned students about jamming dorm exits open when they should be locked. She reiterated that advice Tuesday, along with offering other safety tips.

In an interview, the chief said being aware of one’s surroundings is the No. 1 safety precaution.

 “We will continue to patrol the campus daily with a follow-up email of anything that happens on or around campus,” said Honora.

Opinion in divided among students about how safety they feel, even from students who come from large cities with high crime rates.

Lauren Ivy, a sophomore social work major from Chicago, said she only feels safe in New Orleans because she surrounds herself with natives that “keep me from being in places I shouldn’t be.”

Ivy said that since she is from a city with high crime rates – Chicago has had 112 homicides so far this year – she is always alert and conscious of her surroundings.

“I’m never just out in unknown territory being completely ignorant to things that can possibly spiral out of control,” she said.

Jordan Yates, a sophomore mass communication major from Newark, New Jersey, noted his city’s crime rate is much lower than that of New Orleans. He said he feels “somewhat safe” on campus, but if he were to live off-campus, he would feel “a bit more unsafe.”

Yates said that when he is on campus, he “always make sure to lock my doors and keep expensive items hidden.” While on- and off-campus, he said he remains vigilant.

Yates said he felt campus police is doing “a great job with making sure everyone is safe on campus.”

Ivy was less sure about campus police efforts.

 “I know from a student’s standpoint, it’s all fun and games that sometimes IDs are not checked at the gate. However, you never know who’s strolling through the campus.”

She added that even though the daily patrolling around campus is appreciated, DU should have more than one person and one car patrolling.

To remain safe on and off-campus, Honora suggested that students adhere to safety tips sent out in campus emails. Some tips include creating a “buddy” system, studying the campus and surrounding neighborhoods, locking your car and room doors at all times and traveling in groups when possible. 

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