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The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

Keeping Panthers safe and informed

UNI Public Safety releases annual report, promotes Rave Guardian app
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MALLORY SCHMITZ
The Rave Guardian app is meant to serve as a more practical public safety tool in this day and age. It includes a call directory to various area resources, the ability to call UNI Police or 911 with the touch of a button and safety timers, which prompt a check-in from the user’s family or friends when the timer expires.

At the end of September, UNI Public Safety released its annual Security and Fire Safety Report, publishing summaries and statistics from the 2022 calendar year regarding safety at UNI.

The report is required by the Department of Education as part of the Clery Act, a federal law that aims to create transparency regarding campus crime policy and statistics. The almost 100 page report contains details on the programming UNI Public Safety offers, policies on things like weapons or drug use and crime statistics.

The statistics section contains three years of data, 2020, 2021 and 2022, and gives the number of crimes reported in each type of offense. 

Police Chief Helen Haire said that this year’s report was fairly standard, but that there’s always more to keep in mind behind each of the numbers.

“We’re pretty consistent, to be honest,” she said. “Our numbers, every once in a while, we’ll have an anomaly where we’ll spike or we’ll decrease a little bit more than you would think.”

For 2022, arrests for drug law violations were on the rise. There were 34 total on-campus drug arrests in 2022, up from 23 in 2021 and 25 in 2020.

Haire accounts that rise in part to the varying drug laws around the country.

“So far in this year, we see a lot of people who are so comfortable with legal marijuana in other states, they sort of forget it’s still illegal in Iowa,” she said. “So they end up getting arrested, getting charged. They’re more casual, so that might lead to us finding the drugs and arresting more than we did in the past.”

The other area with the most significant rise was in reports of stalking. There were 24 total on campus reports in 2022, compared to 16 in 2021 and 10 in 2020. While the rise is important to note, Haire said that higher numbers aren’t always a bad sign.

“You’ve got to look at it this way, at least they’re saying something because before, we can safely assume that things were happening to people that didn’t report,” she said. “With the education and the outreach, people are more comfortable coming forward, and that’s a good thing. Yes, it makes our numbers go up, and people don’t like that, but it’s a good thing for them and for everybody else.”

As far as education and outreach goes, UNI Public Safety has been at work spreading the word about the Rave Guardian app, newly implemented last spring. The blue safety poles, which served as phones scattered around campus, were removed over the summer due to low use and outdated technology.

The app is meant to serve as a more practical public safety tool in this day and age. It includes a call directory to various area resources, the ability to call UNI Police or 911 with the touch of a button and safety timers, which prompt a check-in from the user’s family or friends when the timer expires.

“The feedback that we’ve gotten is really positive,” Haire said.

“I think that parents really like the fact that it goes with you wherever you are. I know as a parent, I would appreciate that. That it doesn’t matter where my child is… wherever they are, they have that literally at their fingertips,” she said.

Haire said the department presented the app to parents during orientation over the summer and met with on campus Resident Assistants to increase awareness of the resource.

More information on downloading the Rave Guardian app can be found at publicsafety.uni.edu/rave-guardian-app. The complete Security and Fire Safety Report is accessible at publicsafety.uni.edu/sites/default/files/asr.pdf.

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MALLORY SCHMITZ, News Editor

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