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Posted on Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

University of Michigan and Ann Arbor officials canvass student neighborhoods to promote safety

By Kellie Woodhouse

Joe Truzzolino and his roommates were setting up a keg in the front yard of their off-campus rental on Hill Street when they received a surprise visit from the Ann Arbor police chief.

Chief John Seto wasn't there to bust them — Truzzolino is of legal drinking age, after all — but instead welcome them to the neighborhood and hand them a packet filled with information on how to live safely in the neighborhoods surrounding University of Michigan's campus.

"You're on a really busy street," Seto told the Hill Street residents he approached Thursday. "You're on city property, across the street is U-M property, but we work closely together."

Truzzolino said that although the conversation was his first interaction with police this school year, it likely won't be the last time an officer visits his rental.

"I am not going to lie ... Saturday night they might be here," he said. "I hope not, but it always happens."

Joining Seto were U-M Police Chief Joe Piersante; Eddie Washington, executive director of U-M's Division of Public Safety and Security; the school's director of community relations; the dean of students; Ann Arbor City Administrator Steve Powers, City Council Member Sabra Briere and several students.

As part of U-M's Beyond the Diag program, the group canvassed student neighborhoods Thursday to give off-campus residents information on safety, neighborly behavior and U-M events for off-campus students.

The reaction of most students was positive — that is, after they recovered from the initial confusion of having police knock on their doors.

"[Students were] a little surprised to see me until I introduced myself and said I'm here to welcome you, you're not under arrest," Piersante said.

U-M student Brad Murphy, who lives in a large rental house on Hill Street, said he got a "positive vibe" from police. Even so, Murphy said he'll probably see officers later this fall under different circumstances.

"We throw the football pre-games here so it's kind of expected," he said.

U-M and city officials began canvassing neighborhoods three years ago, when the school launched its Beyong the Diag program. Several student "ambassadors" visit off-campus neighborhoods when school begins each year and work to create positive relationships in each neighborhood. Ambassadors work in 12 neighborhoods, including one in North Campus.

"When a student lives in the residence hall the first or second year and moves out of the residence hall and goes into the Greek Community, they are used to us providing the safety because we've got doors that automatically lock and we've got security guards in the residence hall," said U-M Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper. "So what can become an issue for us is when you sort-of move beyond the Diag; when you leave central campus or residence life."

She added: "This transition into living in the neighborhoods was a rocky one. Sometimes the neighbors were unhappy. The students were unhappy. Students would do not-so-wise things like leaving their doors unlocked, their windows up."

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 2:45 a.m.

I think it is great that there is this outreach program. I think it would be even better if we were to cede even more policing authority to the UM campus police, for instance, it is not UM police that you see outside the bars at 2 a.m., it is A2 City police, and we are all picking up the tab for that, in one way or another. In a way, the University should clean up it's own mess.

Eduard Copely

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 6:52 p.m.

Bad boys bad boys, what-cha gonna do when they come for you. Bad boys bad boys, what-cha gonna do when they come for you.

Dog Guy

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 6:26 p.m.

When "officials canvass student neighborhoods", it's a tarp!


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 8:31 p.m.

a tarp?


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

I bet this caused a lot of toilet flushing.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 8:06 p.m.

Let's just hope it didn't blow sewage out yet another manhole cover in the Arb.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

Nieve geeks + freedom + mommies credit card = sloppy messes crawling around campus @ 2:30. It hasn't and won't change. It's what happens when you get a nerd surrounded by other nerds en masse. They suddenly feel like their cool so they go wild and you get MIPs and alcohol poisoning. All you dudes should be loving it and not complaining. Back in my rugby days these were the golden weeks, the low hanging fruit is all over the place.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

You'll both get the nieve if you don't settle down.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 6:01 p.m.

Sounds like Matt is compensating for something. Best years were thew high school ones, eh?


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 4:25 p.m.

I saw them walking around yesterday near Packard and State--glad to have *some* kind of neighborhood awareness being cultivated. I wish we had a less hostile off-campus environment. I frankly don't understand why young men seem to think they should be able to shout things at the pedestrians/joggers innocently going about their business along Packard and the surrounding student neighborhoods. Whence this sense of entitlement? If only they could focus that energy productively on awareness, responsibly watching over themselves (and their peers) making sure that we can all enjoy a safe environment.


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

"I frankly don't understand why young men seem to think they should be able to shout things at the pedestrians/joggers innocently going about their business along Packard and the surrounding student neighborhoods. Whence this sense of entitlement?" Because... it's college.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 5:38 p.m.

The sense of entitlement comes from Mommy's credit card, used lexus, and finally being surrounded by their own type...other geeks. That and they're proud to be able to almost throw a football across their front lawn. It's what happens when the loser nerds from a bunch of high schools are concentrated in one area...suddenly they think they are cool. It's really very funny. Enjoy it.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

"I am not going to lie...Saturday night they might be here," he said. "I hope not, but it always happens." And so begins another 9 months of A2 being held captive by Young People Making Poor Choices.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 5:34 p.m.

Captive? They are nerds, hang with your friends and stand up to them...they're all a bunch of wimps, even the gym body frat boys.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

Gol Ding it, get off my dad-blasted lawn!!!!!


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

I really like the porch roof sculpture in the next to last picture - noble pose, but very lifelike.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

I know the budget is probably in ribbons, and thus this isn't an option in many places, but I'd dearly love to see it done in Ypsilanti too, when they had the money. The student across the street from me last year was held against the wall by the throat as his house was robbed. Even just for this canvassing venture to put police visible walking the streets would be heartening. After a particularly heinous crime you do see more of them for awhile, but eventually it peters off--again, budgets being what they are. But a big visible push in a non-drastic situation might at least serve as a reminder to students and would-be thieves/rapists/carjackers that, hey, there are people here paid to hunt you down when you do these things, and it's going to happen, so why not just skip doing the things and don't risk the results.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

The typos in this "newspaper" website drive me insane! Where is the proofreading? ugh! Fix the second paragraph...!


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

They don't have the mayor along with them handing out "Pedestrians Rule!" propaganda? That would surely be a huge boon to safety. Plus I know he was a big hit going door-to-door in the recent primary election.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

Finally, A organization which deals with off campus issues of u of m students. I was born and raised in ann arbor and my family has lived in ann arbor for abourt seventy years. We have seen alot of clhanges in the conduct of students from the university over the years. I have moved away to another state. My mom still resides in ann arbor and we live abourt ten minutes from the stadium. My mom compains consatntly about the students unruly behavior. It is ridiculous. She has called the police regading parties into the wee hours,loud noise,drunk students and trashing street and parking illegaL. I LOVE A2! BUT THIS HAS GONE TO FAR!! GO BLUE!!

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

Here come da fuzz

Eduard Copely

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 11:27 a.m.

Dang! The top brass is out and about! Would this have saved DeWolf's life? I think not.

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

Photo op


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 11:20 a.m.

Never walk alone after dark especially 10 PM- 5AM you are a target for crime. Watch out in the Hill st corridor off campus.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 11:14 a.m.

Interesting! If you live in a neighborhood that is filled with college kids and they make noise periodically............... Go figure!