As move-in continues, the University organization Beyond the Diag, in partnership with the Ann Arbor Police Department and the University’s Division of Public Safety and Security, spent Thursday canvassing student neighborhoods to raise awareness about off-campus safety issues.

Throughout the day, Beyond the Diag members split into groups with AAPD and UMPD officers, as well as officials with Recycle Ann Arbor. Walking through neighborhoods on North and Central Campus, participants talked to students about feeling safe where they live.

LSA junior Shelby DeVuyst said for the past five years, Beyond the Diag has sought to help students feel comfortable moving into their neighborhoods as they transition from on-campus to off-campus living.

“The inspiration was initially crime off campus and students weren’t feeling safe once they moved from the dorms to off campus,” DeVuyst said. “We just act like a liaison between the University, the city of Ann Arbor, all of the students and the community to try and provide them with the resources and information that they need to have a safe year.”

Each neighborhood has an ambassador who lives in the area, providing students a Beyond the Diag member to connect with if they need advice or help with safety concerns.

Molly Labrousse, program manager for Beyond the Diag, said the program aims to connect University students with these neighborhood ambassadors as well as with community resources. Labrousse also said they try to give information about a variety of safety issues.

“One of our partners is Parking and Transportation Services, and we work closely to advertise Safe Ride services,” Labrousse said. “I think students, late at night when they’re walking home from the library or if they’re out, they’re concerned about getting home, so we provide a lot of resources about different transportation options for late-night transportation.The Division of Student Life and the University of Michigan have been really committed to educating students about the sexual misconduct policy and reducing that type of harm off campus as well.”

Beyond the Diag also emphasizes partnership between AAPD and DPSS.

Lt. Matthew Lige, an officer with AAPD, said his department works hard during the beginning of the academic year to raise student awareness of safety issues.

“With this time of the year where students move in and all the hype that is fall, this is a great opportunity for the two agencies to collaboratively reach out to the neighborhoods, talk to the students and talk to the residents about issues they could face in the fall,” Lige said. “Alcoholism, loud-music complaints, trash complaints, those type of things that are problematic in the fall. This is an opportunity to network, educate and inform so hopefully everyone can enjoy everything that Ann Arbor has to offer.”

DPSS Executive Director Eddie Washington told The Michigan Daily this week that the University is expanding its off-campus presence, in part to address alcohol abuse off campus.

“It really is about community policing,” he said. “Prevention is about developing relationships, so we’ve shifted our resources to be more in the space before the incident.”

DeVuyst said program organizers know there are various safety concerns for students living off campus and Beyond the Diag aims to tackle them, starting with the canvassing project.

“There are so many different things that can happen,” she said. “We’re really trying to work to prevent them to make sure that we keep students safe and make sure they know where they can get help if needed.”

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