By Patricia Somma
On Sept. 7, 2007, KU sophomore Kyle Quinn was beaten to death on West Main Street in a random act of violence during his walk back to campus, a crime that shook the community to the core. In order to ensure the safety of students and residents, the Kutztown Borough Police Department and KU students and staff came together to form a neighborhood watch group called KUBoK.
The organization, which stands for Kutztown University and Borough of Kutztown, was responsible for patrolling the streets of Kutztown during peak social hours and offering an escort home to anyone feeling unsafe, according to the website ENGAGE@KU. The Kutztown Police Department provided training and radios to volunteers.
However, volunteering has decreased immensely over the years, and KUBoK has seemingly evaporated.
“Unfortunately, as the death of Kyle faded from the memories of the school and community so has the participation level,” said Kutztown Borough Chief of Police Craig Summers. “COVID-19 has basically stopped the KUBoK patrols, and at this point, I am not sure if it will return in the fall.”
Although it is still listed on ENGAGE@KU, there are currently no officers shown on the website.
Quinn’s death was only the second murder the borough had seen since 1982. Other acts of violence, however, have also raised concern in the community.
In 2016, Travis Zilmer fell victim to a near-fatal stabbing at an off-campus party on Noble Street. The attack left Zilmer with a lacerated esophagus and a punctured liver. He required three surgeries to survive, and his assailant was sentenced to six and a half to 20 years in prison.
According to RAINN.org, 33.2% of undergraduate students experience sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation. College women are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted than robbed.
KUBoK volunteers spent their time from 11:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. walking around the borough to keep the community safe. But without volunteers, that service has faded.
“I honestly didn’t know that KUBoK was a club that we had on campus, but I think that I would feel a lot safer if it were back around,” KU junior Paige Henry said. “I feel like it is such a good idea to have people looking out for you while you’re trying to have fun. Every campus should have something like that.”
Efforts to get comment from KU’s Dean of Students, the Student Government Board and the Women’s Center were unsuccessful.