Increased safety to come to Binghamton University off-campus housing

By Julianne Peixoto

July 21, 2014 Updated Jul 22, 2014 at 2:47 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Local leaders are looking to improve safety for off-campus Binghamton University students as early as this upcoming school year.

The new Assistant Dean of Students for Off Campus Programs and Services at Binghamton University attended the Binghamton City Council meeting Monday night to share new off-campus housing safety ideas.

"My focus this first year in the position, my primary focus will be off campus safety," said Milton Chester. "So by working with Chief (Joseph) Zikuski and some of the other directors, I’m hoping to really move that issue forward for our students."

Although Chester has only held the position since March, he already has several ideas on how to make off-campus living safer for BU students.

"Myself and Chief Zikuski have been talking about creating a text alert system," said Chester. "Where students, or I guess anyone else, could sign up and if something serious were to happen they would receive a text message to let them know what’s going on."

Chester also asked the council members for any suggestions they had pertaining to off-campus safety.

Members gave ideas such as creating an escort system for off-campus bus stops, adding more bus stops downtown and creating a neighborhood watch system to supplement police patrols.

Rising junior Reece Pyankaroo will be living off-campus next year.

"I’ve heard there are bad parts of Binghamton, but I’m not really sure of where," said Pyankaroo.

He liked the idea of adding more bus stops outside campus -- for more than just safety reasons.

"I feel like going to places is gonna be really hard," said Pyankaroo. "You have to wait for the buses 'cause now it’s like every hour, so it’s kind of hard to get transportation."

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