Violent Crime in Albany Has Students Concerned if Downtown is Safe

By Jaleel Moody | September 12, 2022


Photo Credit: Stock Photos

The beginning of the school year is considered an exciting time for students. Being reunited with old friends, starting classes, joining clubs and taking part in the party scene make up campus life.


However, following two violent crimes that occurred near the campus, students are now wondering whether they are safe on or off campus.


On Aug. 28 there was a shooting at Pine Hills in downtown Albany resulting in six injuries. Although no UAlbany students were believed to be involved, the scene is a hotspot for parties attended and run by UAlbany students.


A week earlier, an armed robbery occurred at the Uptown campus. No UAlbany students or staff are thought to be involved.


Sydney Lee, a UAlbany junior, said about the shooting, “Nope. I’m done with downtown. I’m not sure if it's people feeling cooped up or whatever, but they’re acting too excited. I’ll be fine staying in.”


While the final crime statistics for August are not available to the public yet, there were over 200 violent crimes in Albany in the month of July. This is a drastic increase from the 40 incidents recorded from the previous month. In the week following the incidents near campus, there was another shooting in downtown, leaving one adult dead. No UAlbany students were involved.


Not everyone is concerned by the shooting.


“I care that someone got shot near campus but, I mean, I grew up on the Lower East Side, so I’m not – I’m used to guns and hearing gunshots go off – and so I’m not going to let that stop me from having a good time and enjoying myself,” said Kwame Mensah, a UAlbany sophomore. “Though that’s just me and if I wasn’t adjusted to that type of environment, I might be more concerned about stuff like what happened last week, but it doesn’t concern me.”


UAlbany junior James Kinney said that although the shootings are serious, they seem “far off and distant.” He added, “If I was there or it happened to me, I would probably be more scared to go to parties downtown, but it’s just honestly, like, so far off in my mind, it’s just not processing in my decision-making.”


Concerned or not, most students said they felt safe on campus.


“I don’t really hang out like that,'' said Devant Webster, a first year student at UAlbany. “I feel safe on campus, [but] ask me to take one step off. I might be hesitant, but on campus it’s fine, I feel safe.”


Robert Yun, a UAlbany junior, described campus police as being friendly, believing they are doing a good job. “You hear about all this crime in Albany but none of it is on the campus so that must mean they are doing their job well enough,” said Yun.


While Albany police are increasing their presence downtown, there have been no plans to close the streets to UAlbany students or their parties. The University sent out multiple notices advising students to remain safe by avoiding the downtown area.


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