VALHALLA, N.Y. – Crimes reported at Westchester Community College in Valhalla are down, according to statistics provided by the U.S. Office of Postsecondary Education. Yet not all students are buying in that the campus is a safe haven.
“I would never leave any of my belongings unattended around here,” said Armando Ranos of Port Chester, a student at WCC. “I just don’t think that’s a good idea given this type of campus.”
Burglaries and aggravated assaults, the two most common crimes at the community college, have decreased over the past three years. In 2009 and 2010, three and four burglaries, respectively, were reported on the campus. In 2011, there were two. In 2010 there was major spike in reported aggravated assaults, as seven incidents occurred during the school year. In 2011, that number dropped to only one.
Brian Dolansky, director of campus security at WCC, said the numbers aren’t indicative of the whole student body.
“Those assault cases were just one student who committed multiple crimes,” Dolansky said of the seven reported cases in 2010. “So it’s really just individual cases rather than a trend, and once we’re able to catch that individual and discipline them, the issue goes away.”
Tatiana Shvachkina of Ossining is a student at WCC who said she generally doesn’t see any issues with crime on campus.
“I feel pretty safe,” Shvachkina said. “I haven’t had anything stolen from me or anything like that while I’ve been on campus.”
Dolansky said that the campus has had a number of hate crimes over the past three years. In 2011, there were six cases of hate crimes related to destruction of property because of race or sexual orientation. Dolansky said the cases are generally graffiti incidents on campus property.
WCC is a commuter campus, and Dolansky said the makeup of campus crime would be drastically different if residential housing was available.
“I think the numbers as they are now would stay the same, but you would see a lot more crimes related to alcohol or sexual assaults,” Dolansky said. “It’s just something that unfortunately comes with the territory of dorm living.”