By Aaron Podolefsky

Over the past several weeks, concerns regarding the safety of the Buffalo State College community have been raised, mainly in response to media attention that has been given to off-campus and on-campus security incidents involving our students. The cumulative impact of these events has resulted in a misperception about the safety of our campus and has overshadowed the fact that Buffalo State is a safe place to study, work and visit.

Buffalo State is an open, urban 125-acre campus, connected to and surrounded by the City of Buffalo’s West Side neighborhoods. Located in the heart of the city’s vibrant museum district in the Elmwood-Grant corridor, our faculty and staff members and students are proud to work and live in such a culturally rich and diverse city.

Without question, Buffalo State places the highest priority on the safety of our 12,000 students, including more than 2,500 resident students and 1,700 faculty and staff members. Given the size of the campus population and the number of students living on campus, we have given special attention to developing a comprehensive security approach and have preventative measures in place to provide the safest environment possible for our college community.

In fact, in recent years, Buffalo State has experienced a decrease in on-campus crime. From 2009 to 2011, violent crime decreased 20 percent and it appears we are on track for further reduction in the current year. Property crime decreased even more by a remarkable 33 percent from 2008 to 2011. Based on the college’s Annual Security Report, off-campus crimes involving Buffalo State students have also shown a decrease. Yet the attention received pertaining to the recent safety occurrences nearby and on-campus has led to speculation that these incidents are happening at Buffalo State with greater frequency.

As an urban-based institution, we are committed to community policing and working closely with area law enforcement agencies to proactively address crime and safety issues. However, we are also cognizant that even with the array of safety initiatives and procedures we have established, the expectation of a completely crime-free environment is improbable on our campus, as it is at any other large university in the country.

All of us at Buffalo State take very seriously the concerns about the safety of our students, faculty and staff members. We will continue to review our safety practices to take every possible precaution to further enhance the security of our entire campus community. As a whole, our faculty, staff and students are proud to be a part of this dynamic city and enjoy the many nearby museums, trendy cafes, restaurants, shops, parks and other great assets in the area.

Aaron Podolefsky, Ph.D., is president of Buffalo State and has authored books on crime prevention in urban America.