April 28, 2010

Cornell Police Up Presence at Semester’s End

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With students celebrating the end of classes, the warm weather and senior week, the Cornell University Police Department plans to increase staffing and may conduct joint patrols with the Ithaca Police Department over the next few weeks, according to CUPD Chief Kathy Zoner. Zoner said that a larger police presence during these high-traffic times has historically reduced rowdiness, crime and noise violations.

While Cornell Police are still planning operations for the end of May, the department usually increases patrols and stations CUPD officers with IPD officers to patrol CUPD’s usual jurisdiction as well as neighboring regions.

“We take a look at activity levels, the severity and time of crimes committed, and make our predictions from there on what type of staffing we’ll need as students become more active during late hours,” Zoner said.

Zoner declined to provide specific information about the operation because she said she does not want people to know the number and locations of on-duty officers, but said that most violations occur in Collegetown and around particularly problematic fraternities. These infringements include increased criminal mischief, property destruction, noise complaints, disorderly conduct, fights and assaults.

Although increased staffing is certain, the CUPD will not choose whether to stage joint patrols until speaking with the IPD in the next couple weeks. Zoner will decide along with IPD Chief Edward Vallely, who was unavailable to comment, whether this year will require a mutual effort.

“We think the joint patrols are generally effective because it shows a commitment to those outside our campus,” she said. “But it changes and grows as different classes graduate.”

The city of Ithaca has also launched education efforts and toughened its noise ordinance policy in 2004 to address end-of-year problems. The current zero-noise standard aims to “preserve the public health, peace, welfare and good order by suppressing the making, creation or maintenance of excessive, unnecessary, unnatural or unusually loud noises which are prolonged, unusual and unnatural in their time, place and use and which are detrimental to the environment,” according to the City of Ithaca’s website.

Zoner said that these regulations along with increased police enforcement have noticeably reduced violations in the past and that community members generally appreciate the effort.

“Rowdiness has been a top issue among the members of the landlord association,” Carol Ann Brusc, a rental agent for C.S.P. Management, said. “At the end of the year, students party and the police help out tremendously, but I just wish students were a little more safe.”

Some students, however, feel the increased presence may not be necessary.

“I haven’t had much experience with senior week personally, but I think it’s a mature group of people who can be trusted and don’t necessarily need more police enforcement,” Jeff Stulmaker ’11 said.

Students have not usually voiced much concern about CUPD’s efforts during the last few weeks of the semester though, Zoner said.

“I think it’s been pretty seamless and people are happy to get the presence out, especially those [who are] out there to have a good time and are controlling themselves,” she said. “I don’t know how the people who have been arrested feel about it, but I think it’s generally appreciated.”

Original Author: Dan Robbins