When an on-campus crime or incident of interest to Appalachian State University occurs, the campus community is notified with a “Crime Alert” email, but faculty, staff and students will soon recognize the title of the email changing
“We are starting to call crime alerts safety alerts now,” ASU Police Captain Todd Corley said. “This is because we are adding more details with safety tips and ideas for students.”
These safety alerts have also been increasing in detail. The last safety alert, received on Feb. 11 of this year, was over a page long – providing tips, statistics, outreach opportunities and other information regarding an on-campus sexual assault that occurred.
ASU Police Chief Gunther Doerr said police worked with the university’s Interpersonal Violence Committee, made up of administration, faculty and students, to change the language and increase information in the safety alert emails. The committee’s discussion centered around the fact that students in this committee wanted more information out of the crime alert.
Doerr said one of the subcommittees sent that idea to the communications subgroup, which began to work with the chancellor and chief of staff to change the alerts.
“The level of awareness of these alerts arose, such as the change to safety alerts rather than crime alerts,” Doerr said.
Doerr said ASU Police wanted to change the wording as well, so the alert does not make the victim feel at fault and make it clear that the alert is not directed at them.
The reason for an increased number of crime reports this academic year is because the North Carolina Clery committee incorporated new obligations as for what to report and notify, Doerr said.
“We are required to report anything that is considered unwanted sexual contact,” Corley said.
From a Clery perspective, they are required to report more information for all crimes.
“We have to report every crime that occurs, even if it’s off-campus and university sponsored,” ASU Police Captain Jonathan Brown said. “I feel as if students are becoming more comfortable letting people know what is happening and the crimes that occur around them.”
Captain Corley said he strongly believes in the AppCares application, available for students to download on most smartphones that lists campus safety resources to be used in case of emergency.
“I think that [the] AppCares app could truly help a student,” he said. “You never know who it could help, whether it be someone who’s depressed or just needs someone to talk to, this app can allow you to do so.”
STORY: Mary Wood, Intern News Reporter