Durham Ranked No. 2 Safest College Town in America. Some Students Feel Differently.


Stefanie Kistler, Staff Writer

DURHAM, NH- Home of the University of New Hampshire (UNH), the town of Durham, has been voted the second safest college town in America in a study evaluating FBI crime rates from the past year. SafeWise, an independent safety ranking organization, found that among all the colleges across America with a population of over 14,000, Durham is one of the best in terms of safety. 

According to FBI statistics from last year, Durham ranks lowest in percentage of property damage crimes and second lowest in violent crimes. Data suggests that Durham is one of the safest, however some students don’t entirely agree.

Third year student Renee Franzini said that compared to their last school, Durham is far safer, but that it still has its fair share of issues.

“I went to school in Boston,” Franzini said.“There were shootings near me pretty often, and I would get alerts on my phone regularly. Compared to that, Durham is pretty good, but not perfect.” Franzini added that they do not feel safe walking around at night and call their friends when they have no one to walk with them.

Feeling unsafe at night seems to be a common theme among students. Fourth year student Emily Goldburg says that they generally do not like to walk around at night without at least one friend with them.

Goldburg has been living in Durham for four years now. They say that other than at night, Durham does feel safe, but that they wouldn’t put it as No. 2 in America.

“With the way rape allegation and other incidents are handled, I’m not sure,” Goldburg said. “There is a certain lack of action on campus.” 

Goldburg said they feel there are issues with the way Title IX handles certain incidents, and that there is a lack of communication between students and administration.

“They need to listen to student’s concerns and communicate better. They tend to brush stuff under the rug, but students really need to know these things.” Goldburg said.

Some students’ minds go other ways when asked about campus safety. Second year student Tess Tuhy agreed that compared to other state schools, UNH is safe, but that the students themselves need to watch out for each other more in order to keep safe.

“A student died last year and was alone. No one was watching out for him,” Tuhy said. “We need people to be more aware of the people around them. It’s not just the university’s responsibility, but ours as students and peers.”

The UNH Police Department has tried to tackle general campus safety for many years. Blue Lights have been placed at strategic locations across campus and are ready to call the police upon a touch of a button. The RAVE Guardian app connects students directly to the UNH Police Department discreetly. UNH also provides a safe walk service, where the police department can be called to escort someone anywhere on campus late at night. But students seem unaware of some of the services that the university and the police department offer.

“I knew about the blue lights, everyone does,” said fourth year student Alyssa Daigle. “But I had no idea about the apps UNH uses or the safe walks. All these services, they sound great. If they were used, they would probably be really effective. But students don’t know about them, so they’re useless.” 

Third year student Alex Rakowski says that he has heard of too many incidents of not just violence, but late-night mischief, to truly call Durham one of the safest college towns in America.

Rakowski shared that the fact that some of the academic buildings remain open all night does not feel safe to him. “That just cannot be safe,” he said.

The UNH Police Department encourages all students to take advantage of their websites on crime prevention, and are always happy to take questions concerning campus safety.