YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There’s an extra emphasis this year being placed on safety at Youngstown State University. It’s not just because of the pandemic, but also because of a rise in violence throughout the city.
This past weekend, there was a community meeting where they were able to talk to landlords, property owners and business owners about how they can keep the city safe. They discussed how to keep residents, visitors and temporary residents safe.
The department is making an effort to keep students safe while they’re on campus, but also off campus when they may be going out on the weekends.
The YSU campus police chief Shawn Varso says student’s safety is a top priority.
“They are the treasure of the city, you know, along with our citizens,” he said. “Parents send their kids here to make sure they’re safe and we have to make sure they stay safe.”
The campus police do a lot to keep students safe and remind them how to be safe when going out at night in the city.
One of those things is sending out crime alerts when there is danger in or around campus. This is to tell students to avoid certain places if there is a potential threat.
Emails are also sent from campus police to inform students where certain crime “hot spots” are and to avoid those as well. Varso said he also sends out monthly emails with more information and tips on how to stay safe.
He also says that the department also works hard to have a positive relationship with students.
“We have a lot of students ask our officers questions about ‘Well should I go here, you know, is this a safe place to go to?'” Varso said. “And, you know, our officers will tell them, ‘Make sure you stay with a group, you know, stay in lit areas,’ and that, so, we’re out there actively engaging with the students…giving them that information also.”
The YSU campus police also have a good relationship with the city police department.
Both work together in many situations involving student safety.
Campus police have had a mutual aid agreement with Youngstown Police Department for over 20 years.