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As violent crime surges in urban areas across the country, many college campuses in these cities are left in the crosshairs and some students say they now avoid going off campus when possible.
Across cities such as Chicago, Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington, D.C., violent crime as of May had increased as much as 40% when compared to the same time in 2021.
At the University of Chicago, in a city where overall violent crime is up by 36% compared to the same timeframe in 2021, some students simply chose not to go to areas off campus.
Sanjay Srivatsan, a student at the University of Chicago, told Fox News Digital that he generally chooses to stay on campus.
“I wouldn’t go there,” Srivatsan says of the Hyde Park neighborhood, which is where the university is located. “It’s a pretty dangerous part of the city, and it’s generally not advisable to go there. …”I don’t want to take unnecessary risks.”
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He says that, however, the University of Chicago Police Department makes its presence known on campus.
“They are, you know, pretty visible around campus, and there has been crime. So, it’s unfortunate, but I think the university police, that’s the best they can do,” Srivatsan said.
Overall, violent crime has remained relatively consistent on the University of Chicago campus from 2018-2020, according to data reported by the institution as required by the Clery Act.
“It’s a pretty dangerous part of the city”
In 2020, the university reported 12 robberies on campuses, three aggravated assaults and four vehicle thefts.
Those numbers dramatically increased off campus and into the surrounding Hyde Park and South Kenwood neighborhoods, with six murders, 17 sexual assaults, 149 robberies and 107 instances of aggravated battery and assault reported in 2021. That’s a 22% increase in violent crime reported in 2021 in the surrounding neighborhoods when compared to the average for the five-year period from 2016 through 2020.
A spokesperson for the University of Chicago told Fox News Digital that “the University has engaged with community concerns over many years and is taking many of the steps that community residents and elected officials have suggested.”
“In 2019, the University’s Office of Civic Engagement (OCE) formed a Community Development Working Group with more than 50 local stakeholders from business, workforce development, and housing organizations to discuss the University’s role as an economic anchor, and explore deeper partnership to spur more equitable development and economic inclusion on the South Side,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
In Atlanta, where the Georgia Institute of Technology is located, violent crime is 6% higher than it was at the same time in Aug. 2021, according to data from the Atlanta Police Department. In the zone where Georgia Tech is located, violent crime is 5% higher than it was at this point in time last year.
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Nathaniel Greve, a student at Georgia Tech, told Fox News Digital that although crime rates are on the rise for areas surrounding the campus, the campus police department keeps the community safe.
“I can consistently commend the efforts of our campus police department. They do a really good job to keep us safe,” Greve said. “I also think that we fare quite well when we are compared to other schools that are in big cities.”
He said that he never has felt unsafe while walking across campus, even being embedded in a major city.
“I mean, within eyesight, at any given location, you can either easily reach an emergency phone or there’s a police officer rolling down the street, and they have blue lights on all the time. So, you know who they are or where they are. And I mean, you would never feel bad about going up to one of them and asking for assistance,” Greve said.
However, he said that some students are being forced to find housing that is farther and farther from campus because of an increase in demand, which he says puts them in “pretty rough neighborhoods.”
Violent crime reported to the Georgia Tech Police Department has increased by 74% when compared to the same time in 2021, with a majority of the increases coming from motor vehicle thefts, which have increased by a total of 337% when compared to last year. There have been 35 motor vehicle thefts in 2022, compared to eight in 2021.
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A spokesperson for Georgia Tech told Fox News Digital that it tries to build preparedness within its campus community.
“Protecting our community against crime starts with active engagement. We work hard in our campus community to build awareness around establishing safe routines, connecting with safety resources and growing a network of support. GTPD officers and civilian employees interact frequently with our students, faculty, staff and guests,” the spokesperson said. “The more engaging we are around safety topics, the better prepared our community is, and the more likely we are to avoid becoming victims of crime.”
The spokesperson also said that it has “thousands of cameras on campus connected to a monitoring and alert system that gives us a very big advantage in preventing or solving crime.”
Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith, a spokesperson for the National Police Association, told Fox News Digital that college campus police departments are different from other police departments from around the country.
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“It’s going to be extremely diverse. It’s going to be somewhat transient. You know, people come from all over and then, you know, they spend, nine months of the year on campus. Part of your population is going to be newly away from home. And that’s an issue. Sometimes, you know, a lot of times college kids, especially, you know, freshman, sophomore, they’re a little naive about, you know, making their way around by themselves,” Smith said. “You’re going to have theft issues, sexual assault issues, things like that.”
As a parent, Smith said it’s extremely important that her children go to colleges where there is a “fully certified police department” because of issues such as mass shootings.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.