Staying Safe off UNC’s Campus

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Police officers attending to a crime scene on 11th Avenue.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on Greeley. Some believe it’s a good city to raise a family. Others say it is a boring, high-crime cow town that does not smell great.  Depending on the person, all of those could be true. Most students agree that the University of Northern Colorado’s campus feels safer than the city of Greeley itself. 

In 2020, the United States Census said that Greeley had a population of 108,759 people, an increase of 17.12% since the 2010 United States Census. According to the Census data, 10.9% of Greeley families live in poverty. 

According to Crime Grades, a website that grades how safe or dangerous cities are based on violence, property crimes and drug-related crimes, Greeley received a B minus for its crime rate compared to the average American city. 

Crime Grades reported the chance of being a victim of crime in Greeley may be as high as one in 20 in the city’s northeastern neighborhoods.

​The northwest part of Greeley is considered to be the safest part by people who live in the city. The northwestern parts of the city have a one in 96 chance of being a victim of crime. 

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“I actually learned in my geography class that the closer we are to the railroad tracks and the cow poop is the more slums it gets and that is on purpose,” said Megan Stewart, a senior communications major at UNC and a Greeley resident.

Stewart said the further west you get from the trains and the railroad tracks, the newer and more expensive the houses are compared to where most UNC students live. 

​Faith Debelle, a senior criminal justice major at UNC and Greeley resident, said west Greeley is safer than the eastern part.

“There are not as many rentals. It doesn’t allow for as many low income people to live over there,” Debelle said. “Here there is a lot of renting and a lot of low-cost housing so it brings in a lot of people who have a lower income.” 

Data from the 2021 calendar was released from the FBI in September of 2022 on areavibes. The website helps users figure out the safest and best places to live in the United States based on cost of living, crime rates, employment, health and safety, schools, housing and user ratings.

Areavibes reported that, “in Greeley the number of daily crimes is projected to be 1.01 times more than the Colorado average and 1.4 times more than the national average. The average number of daily violent crimes in Greeley is 1.26 times more than the Colorado average and 1.37 times more than the daily national average.”

Stewart says she feels unsafe living in Greeley. She talked about hearing weird sounding explosions for about a week and a half each day, which once led the power to go off in her house and in Kepner Hall where her roommate was attending class. She also mentions hearing a lot of gunshots while living in Greeley. 

Stewart says there are limited street lights where she lives which makes it scary to walk at night. 

“It doesn’t even feel safe with another person and a dog,” Stewart said. “I would not say that I feel safe in Greeley.”

Amaya Yeazel, a senior biomedical science major at UNC and Greeley resident, says she feels safe inside her house because her doors are always locked, but she does not always feel safe in Greeley. Yeazel says that she and her roommates hear a lot of sounds and loud bangs which they assume are gunshots. They often hear these sounds when they are going to bed at night rather than during the day.

Debelle said she doesn’t feel safe in Greeley because she interned for the public defender’s office and was able to see what happens around Greeley and surrounding her house. She said that the internship did not make her feel safer living in the city.   

Stewart lives in a house near campus but says she felt a lot safer when she was living on campus in the dorms. 

“You’re behind multiple walls of security. You have to have an I.D. card to get into the building, then you go up into an elevator, then have a key to get into your room and then for me, you had to have a key to get even further into my room. The building is lit, there are R.A.’s sitting at the bottom. It is much safer living on campus,” Stewart said. 

Debelle said living on campus versus living off campus is a different reality.

“On campus, you’re a little more sheltered and off campus you actually see everything that is going on,” Debelle said. 

Stewart said she feels safe at UNC and around campus but not so much outside of her home. 

“Once, I came home and there was a bullet hole through my roommates window,” Stewart said. “We found out it was just a BB gun but still, someone shot at my roommates window on a random day,” Stewart said. 

​Greeley ranks below average compared to the rest of the United States but how safe or unsafe is Greeley compared to others in the United States? Areavibes reported that Greeley is safer than 21% of cities in Colorado and 15% of cities across the United States. This is evident by tracking Colorado cities as well as all U.S. cities over a one year period to contrast crime statistics as they relate to Greeley. 

​Students living off campus can keep their homes secure by installing doorbell cameras, safely storing spare keys, protecting and locking their bikes and securing their doors.

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