GVSU increase in police services will keep downtown campus safer

Map of crime incidents reported within a mile radius of Grand Valleys Pew campus.  Courtesy / GRPD Crime Mapping

Map of crime incidents reported within a mile radius of Grand Valley’s Pew campus. Courtesy / GRPD Crime Mapping

Lanthorn Editorial Board

Grand Valley State Universities dedication to student safety has resulted in a push for more police officers on the downtown Grand Rapids Campus. The amount of student growth into the downtown area was highlighted as the driving force for this expansion of police coverage, but the crime of Grand Rapids should also be taken into account. 

Although Grand Rapids has been considered a city on the rise of revitalization, it’s crime rate almost doubles the national average. According to this week’s crime summary from the Grand Rapids Police Department, there were 62 reported crime incidents within a mile of Grand Valley’s downtown Pew Campus. 

The largest fraction of these incidents were reported assaults. With the increasing number of students both attending classes downtown as well as residing in neighboring communities, the need for more police protection is evident. That is why the Grand Valley Police Department has partnered with Ottawa County to give GVPD more coverage of the downtown campus. 

This means there will be more GVPD officers patrolling GVSU buildings on the downtown campus. With the increase in university buildings downtown, such as the Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall and a possible new health building, an increased presence from GVPD has never been more needed. 

There is also the need for student protection even once they have left a GVSU building. Many students utilize the bus system to get between classes in Finkelstein Hall and the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences from the various buildings on Pew campus. This 15 minute bus ride gives students the opportunity to see more of the Grand Rapids area, which can increase their safety risk being away from university buildings. 

To combat this the GRPD now has the ability to dispatch GVPD officers to students or citizens that call to report a crime that is near campus. GVPD officers will be stationed and patrolling on campus and nearby, waiting to spring into action at the first sign of conflict. 

Many students have taken to renting homes in the downtown Grand Rapids area to be closer to classes and to the hustle and bustle of life in the city. The pitfall occurs when students end up in neighborhoods that may be more dangerous than the accommodations located on campus. While some students may choose to be close to campus, others may opt for cheaper options that could put them in more dangerous areas of the city.

While the increased presence of GVPD in the downtown area will help keep students safer, there are always precautions students need to be taking on their own to ensure their own safety. The first of these is for students to educate themselves about different neighborhoods in Grand Rapids before committing to any living arrangements. Students should also familiarize themselves with areas of caution that they may have to encounter and plan accordingly.

The GVPD Pew campus also offer safe-walk escorts for students wishing to have an officer accompany them on campus. Students can call the GVPD dispatch center at (616) 331-6677 to have an officer escort 24 hours a day, only available on the downtown Pew campus. 

For more information about GVPD safety efforts visit gvsu.edu/security, or call (616) 456-3400 for non-emergency related calls.