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To deter crime and increase safety in the neighborhoods surrounding the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, a community safety zone has been established through a collaboration of the Winnebago County District Attorney’s Office, the City of Oshkosh Police Department and the University Police Department.

The safety zone ― the first of its kind in Oshkosh ― borders Congress Avenue to the Fox River and Jackson Street and encompasses Titan Stadium and Fox Valley Technical College, said UW Oshkosh Interim Police Chief Joseph LeMire.

“The new safety zone surrounding campus is an excellent example of a community partnership developed for the greater good,” said UW Oshkosh Chancellor Richard H. Wells. “This effort highlights the importance of student safety as a shared responsibility.”

The collaborative strategy involves increasing both enforcement and prosecution of crimes in the community safety zone.

“We will step up enforcement of crimes against students by non-students within the zone,” said Oshkosh Police Chief Scott Greuel.

The safety zone concept is a “perfect fit” with the Oshkosh Police Department’s community policing model, he said.

Winnebago County District Attorney Christian Gossett said, “The safety of students at the University is a priority in the District Attorney’s Office.  When individuals target college students, we will consider that an aggravating factor and meet these crimes with an appropriately aggressive response from the criminal justice system.”

LeMire said the combined strategy will enhance the safety of UW Oshkosh students in several ways.

“It will let the students know that there are potential dangers in the area that they should be aware of,” he said. “It also will allow for an opportunity to educate and train students about how to protect themselves and decrease the potential of them becoming victims.”

In addition, LeMire said the effort will increase cooperation, including the sharing of crime statistics, by the University Police and Oshkosh Police to protect students and the residents surrounding the campus community.

“The new safety zone is just one of many ways the University has worked to enhance safety on campus in recent months,” Wells said. “We take safety seriously, as evidenced by the establishment of our Titan Alert system last year and the recent full-scale, mass-casualty emergency exercise, which took place in August.”

LeMire encourages students to follow some simple safety tips:

  • Travel in groups of two or more in well-lit, high-traffic areas.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
  • Be alert.  Look around you; observe who is in the area and make it difficult for anyone to take you by surprise.
  • When listening to your iPod, keep the volume low so you can hear what is going on around you.
  • If you are studying or working late, plan ahead to get home safely.
  • Lock your car.
  • Lock your residence.
  • Be aware of where you are going and who you are going with.
  • Use the Safe Walk Program at the UWO Police Department.
  • Wear bright clothing.
  • Carry a charged cell phone.
  • Avoid bringing people back to your residence who you just met.