Pitt-Johnstown seems to have less crime

Catherine Dawson, Staff Writer

In fall 2016, Pitt-Johnstown police received 2,062 calls to their station,   Police Chief Eric Zangaglia said.

That number includes all crimes and calls for service. Pitt-Johnstown seems to have fewer crimes than two other similar sized campuses.

Of those 2,062 calls, four serious crimes were reported: two sexual assaults, one robbery and one burglary.

The Federal Clery Act requires college administrators to report all crimes that take place on campuses and display them on their website.

“So far this year, we have had two sexual assaults so I think that we will be right on par with past years. We try to keep our campus open and inviting, and unfortunately, that opens it up to all sorts of people,” said Zangaglia.

In 2013 and 2014, there were no robberies, but in 2015 there were two. In 2013, there were six burglaries, in 2014 three and in 2015 one. So far, the 2016 fall semester is consistent with past rates.

“Point Park University has had a total of 156 crimes reported to the police. Of those 156 crimes, three have been burglaries,” said Point Park University’s Police Chief Jeffrey Besong.

In 2013, Point Park University’s sexual assault number was not applicable according to its report, because its officials were not required to count those crimes in that reporting format for 2012 and 2013.

In 2014, Point Park University had five sexual assaults and none in 2015. In 2013 and 2014, Point Park University had three robberies, and in 2015, they had none. There were 16 burglaries in 2013, none in 2014 and two in 2015

According to these results Point Park University had a much higher report of burglaries than Pitt-Johnstown.

According to Police Director Theodore Marnen, Gannon University has received reports and investigated nine Part I crimes. They include eight robberies and one sexual assault.

In 2013, Gannon University had one sexual assault. In 2014 there were three and in 2015 there were zero. In 2013 and 2014 there were two robberies and in 2015 there were eight.

In 2013 there were five burglaries. In 2014 and 2015, Gannon had no reported burglaries.

Gannon University’s crimes compared with Pitt-Johnstown’s crimes are higher. Gannon had eight reported burglaries this fall while Pitt-Johnstown had only one.

When a serious crime on Pitt-Johnstown’s campus takes place, notices in the form of fliers are placed on campus doors. If there is imminent danger, then Emergency Notification System is used.

“The Emergency Notification System was put in place after the Virginia Tech shooting, to warn students of immediate threats. Most of the crimes that occur on this campus are not immediate threats,” Zangaglia said.

The Emergency Notification System is controlled by Zangaglia, Finance and Administration Vice President Amy Buxbaum and the Registrar staff can activate the system and will consult each other to make sure it is necessary, said Zangaglia.

Point Park University’s emergency notification system is called Point Alert. Point Alert is a system that notifies those who sign up for notifications about emergency situations.

“Point Alert is used to inform the community of serious threats. They are notified about active shooters, robbery and gun calls. Also arson, sexual assault and burglary,” said Besong.

Point Park University’s police department is in charge of notifying students. They do so by voicemail, text and email. They also use social media including TV screens and fliers said Besong.

“Gannon University’s emergency notification system alerts subscribers via text message, email and phone call. Additionally, when used, it sends an alert to computers in the form of a pop-up. This is designed for computers in classrooms and offices,” said Marnen.

According to Marnen, Gannon’s emergency notification system is used when there is an ongoing threat on or around campus. It is used so that the subscribers can take action to avoid being a victim.

“If there is an ongoing, but not immediate threat, we notify via email and post on the Gannon portal,” said Marnen.

When there is an immediate threat, police and safety staff send the alerts. In the event that a  timely warning is to be sent, the Marketing and Communication Office authors send out the notice with input from the police office, said Marnen.

Overall, Pitt-Johnstown, Point Park University and Gannon University all use similar notification systems when there is imminent threat.

The only difference is that when there is no immediate threat to a crime, Pitt-Johnstown staff will place fliers on campus to better inform the community.