Police to increase patrols in Burlington neighborhoods

 

A new program is being undertaken by the University to increase police patrols in neighborhoods heavily populated by students starting April 1.

The initiative is aimed around increasing “quality of life” in these neighborhoods, Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling said. 

Alex Prolman, a Junior living on the corner of Pearl and Green streets agrees that noise can be a problem on the weekends. 

“There’s enough noise to make it pretty hard to fall asleep on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights” Prolman said.

The pilot program will last for eight weeks and up to six extra officers will be assigned to the neighborhoods according to the Burlington Free Press.           

If the Pilot is successful, the program could be adopted into a new Memorandum of Understanding between the University and city, which would take effect on July 1.  The Memorandum of Understanding is an agreement between Burlington and the University that outlines payment for city services intended for the University community.  

The document states that: “Burlington and UVM police departments worked together to address quality of life issues in neighborhoods, with stepped up enforcement and joint patrols during the fall and spring in particular. The departments will continue to communicate and work together on mutual assistance issues and other coordination as outlined in the agreement.” 

In the fiscal year 2011, the University, according to the agreement, paid $27,159 for Police Support.  The Burlington Free Press reported the anticipated costs of the program at $35,000 per semester.

The issues of neighborhood quality of life have been mounting as the University expands, some say at a rate that is unsustainable given our limited amount of on-campus housing.

“The best solution is for UVM to stop growing. We can increase the quality of education here without necessarily increasing the student population. Burlington shouldn’t settle for small measures like rent-a-cops trying to bust kids for being too rowdy; they should demand that UVM stop growing so damn fast” Prolman said.

In an interview with WCAX on Jan. 29, Miro Weinberger, Democratic Candidate for Mayor outlined his views on the Memorandum of Understanding and on campus housing.

“I would like to see UVM commit to student housing being built on campus, or near campus, at a rate that exceeds the rate of growth of the student body…Any housing will take pressure off the neighborhoods, and maybe reduce the tensions between students and college” Weinberger said.

Ward 1 Councilor Ed Adrian, told VTdigger.org that the University needs to  “step up to the plate” in terms of creating more on campus housing.  Councilor Adrian’s Ward includes part of Loomis St. and a portion of campus. 

“You’re basically talking about a temporary patch for a chronic situation.  It could be a while before UVM engages in any kind of large-scale housing project. That’s certainly something that I asked for in the last MOU” Adrian said.