Students living downtown may find that weekends will become a little quieter come springtime.
A new pilot program run by the Burlington Police Department, and funded by the University of Vermont, will look to increase the number of police patrolling neighborhoods in Burlington on the weekends according to the Burlington Free Press. The program will allow the police department to employ six additional officers to neighborhood patrol on weekend nights, while the semester is in session. The program will hope to begin in April.
Officers on patrol will generally be focusing on noise complaints and other quality of life issues, Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling said.
Recent breaks-ins of cars and apartments, as well as, noise issues has caused some Burlington residents to be a little uneasy towards students, and even the University itself.
Senior, Samantha Wyman, who has lived off campus all four years, believes that the increased police patrols will have multiple side effects. “I think it will help with some of the noise and crime, but I also feel police will go after students who aren’t causing trouble” Wyman said.
Students and the Burlington community may have different outlooks on the situation. State Representative and Burlington resident Kesha Ram said, “I think our best way forward is to recognize that many students and permanent residents alike want to see safe, respectful neighborhoods and healthy, comfortable living spaces.”
Both UVM and the police department are hoping to see improvements in the downtown area; cracking down on noise and other neighborhood issues will hopefully benefit students but all Burlington residents. In retrospect the program will look to better the relationship between students, the university, and the Burlington community.
“Often, there are breakdowns in landlord-tenant relationships or interactions with the police that leave students feeling separated from the rest of the community and without voice. At the same time, they have significant responsibilities they need to meet in order to be treated as adults, and a few students can ruin things for everyone.” Ram said. The program is a starting point for enforcing better student responsibilities.
If the new patrols are found to be effective UVM will make an official budget decision, funding the extra patrols during weekends for future semesters.
The overall cost to the University is about $35,000 per semester, according to an article in the Burlington Free Press. Interim President John Bramley said “The additional
officers and patrols we are funding is yet another example of our efforts to improve Burlington’s quality of life”.
For more information on the new pilot program contact the Burlington Police Department or the University of Vermont.